Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

Call to Action – Basic Rights for Home Care Workers

There are approximately 1.7 million home care workers in the US. They are not entitled to earn the same federal labor protections that most workers take for granted. But this might all change in the next couple of days – and just five minutes of your time can make the difference.Two months ago, President Obama proposed proposed to change the rules, finally providing some measure of justice to home care workers who have long been exempted from minimum wage and overtime laws. UNTIL THE END OF FEBRUARY the U.S. Department of Labor is accepting public comments on the proposed change, which would correct part of a longstanding legacy of devaluing a job that is almost totally populated by women and African Americans.

The home care industry is a multi-billion dollar business and, not surprisingly, is mobilizing opposition using scare tactics, claiming that extending these protections to home care workers will kill jobs and leave elderly and disabled Americans without care. The facts, however say otherwise.

This proposed rule change is vital to helping make home care a more viable career. You can change history by taking a few minutes to participate in the public comment period.  We are asked to restrict comments to no more than 300 words and keep it personal.

Fact Sheet– debunking the opposition

Talking Points– why this rule change is so important

Sample Comments– use these as inspiration for your own comments

On-The-Go Flier– print out copies for people to write comments by hand

The Department of Labor, in the face of organized and well-funded opposition, needs to hear that there is widespread support in favor of this rule change. We don’t have money  to counter the negative feedback from the rule’s opponents, so we need to show huge numbers.

Please take a few minutes to leave your comment before the public comment period closes this week.

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Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He is the Executive Director of the San Francisco Hillel Foundation, a non-profit that provides spiritual and social justice opportunities to Jewish students in the Bay Area. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com/ and on Twitter (@alonshalevsf).

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