Saturday, November 29, 2014

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Home Health Aides Walk Off The Job

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More than 1,000 home health aides walked off the job Thursday demanding better pay and benefits and say they could be off the job for at least four days, if not longer.

Despite the cold, about a dozen home health aides with Local 1199 hit the picket line in Midtown Thursday morning.

The union says their company, People Care Home Health Agency, is paying them less than $7 an hour and refusing to bargain in good faith.

"We need to pay our rent," said home health aide Irene Batista. "We don't have sick days. We don't have holidays. Even for vacation, they only pay half of the week of the vacation and the salary is so low."

The union's president says the situation is a disgrace.

"They live in poverty, they take care of others, and at the same time they do not have the ability to take care of themselves and their families," said Local 1199 president Dennis Rivera. "It's a very sad and tragic situation."

A spokesperson for People Care says the wages it’s paying are fair and that patients will suffer because of the strike.

The home health aides provide physical therapy, and help patients eat, dress and exercise.

Thousands of home health care workers went on strike last year. Nearly half of them were able to negotiate a raise to $10 an hour, but Local 1199 says People Care has refused to match the offer.
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