BY HRIPSIME TAMAZYAN
Currently, the largest contract held by the County of Los Angeles is with the Service Employee International Union, United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW). We are over 120,000 strong and we care for more than 150,000 low-income Los Angeles County seniors and people with disabilities.
I am also vice president of ULTCW and an in-home healthcare provider.
While home care workers care for the lives of others, there are so many that don’t have access to a quality healthcare services. One home care worker I know was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago and while she overcame this terrible disease, she was at a loss when our county health insurance didn’t renew her cancer medication because of a new system put in place. She had to be on the phone for days on end until the matter was resolved, but on that final day, she was out of medication. This is not acceptable. Her life was put in danger.
I know other home care workers who are struggling day after day trying to put food on the table. They make hard choices such as paying their rent or putting gas in their car. Sometimes they can’t afford to buy clothes for their kids. I know of a home care worker who lost her home and is homeless. She is struggling to get by, but each day goes to work to care for the healthcare needs of a senior citizen.
As a home care worker, I know how hard it is to make tough choices. My fellow brothers and sisters at ULTCW care for our nations most vulnerable citizens, providing them with companionship, offering compassion, dignity and caring for their health.
As we negotiate with the County of Los Angeles, we are asking that caregivers receive a living wage and better healthcare services. No one should have to make a choice of feeding their children or paying a bill. No one should live in fear that their medicines will not be renewed.
I invite you to stand with us, lend your voices to fight. Demand that home care workers earn a living wage of $9.65 an hour and that better healthcare services are provided.
You can show your support by adding your name to our online petition HERE.
Hripsime Tamazyan is an executive board member and vice president of SEIU United Long Term Care Workers (ULTCW).