Labor, Faith and Community Organizations Voice Unwavering Support for Nevada Home Care Workforce Safety & Standards Act, SB340

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 
Wednesday, April 21 
Contact: Edward Webster, [email protected], 702-755-4307

Labor, Faith and Community Organizations Voice Unwavering Support for Nevada Home Care Workforce Safety & Standards Act, SB340 

Las Vegas, NV- On Thursday, April 15 at the SB340 Partner Forum over 30 Labor, Faith and Community Organizations voiced unwavering support for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1107 Nevada Home Care Workforce Safety & Standards Act, SB340 sponsored by Nevada State Senator Dina Neal SD-4. 

Nevada has one of the fastest-growing senior populations in the nation. The need for high-quality home care services in the Silver State is skyrocketing, but too many of the state’s 13,000 homecare workers are underpaid and exploited— conditions that have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. If Nevada doesn’t address this looming care crisis soon, thousands of more consumers will also be at risk.

Most of the funding for home care services in Nevada comes from taxpayer dollars flowing through the state’s Medicaid program. For too long, there has been too little transparency on how these public dollars are spent and not enough input from those on the frontlines doing the work and receiving the services. As a result, Personal Care Aides (PCAs) have been treated like second-class citizens instead of the essential healthcare workers they are.

“My youngest son is an incomplete quadriplegic. He is paralyzed from the chest down and has very limited use of his arms and fingers. I have been taking care of him every day since birth. He is now 36 years old. My son cannot get himself into bed or out of bed. He cannot wash his own hands, brush his teeth, or pour himself a glass of water if he were choking. In spite of him requiring 24-7 care, he gets only 26.75 hours of PCA care and a few ISO hours per week. Nevada has very limited Medicaid dollars and almost no WAIVER programs that address needs like my son’s. We are so out of line with every other state in the nation. I hope all Nevadans stand with me, my son, and all home care workers in support of SB 340,” said Farren Epstein, Las Vegas Personal Care Aide (PCA). 

“Many home care workers are women of color who earn low wages and have no health care themselves, while they are providing essential health care for our loved ones, seniors, and disabled - that needs to change,” said Geoconda Argüello-Kline, Secretary-Treasurer for the Culinary Union. “The Culinary Union is proud to support home care workers who are organizing to have a voice on-the-job and urges the Nevada Legislature to pass the Nevada Home Care Workforce Safety & Standards Act (SB340).”

“Across Nevada, home care workers are underpaid, overworked, and lacking the resources they need to succeed safely in their career paths. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these workers have worked ‘round the clock to provide care to their clients, even purchasing their own PPE to stay safe,” said Rusty McAllister Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Nevada AFL-CIO. “With SB340, we can provide Nevada’s home care workers with an avenue to demand better pay, training, protection, and working conditions. The Nevada AFL-CIO stands with these workers and SEIU Local 1107 in calling for the passage for SB340.”

“Nevada’s home care workers are on the front lines of caring for people and making sure they are safe and sound,” said Annette Magnus, Executive Director of Battle Born Progress. “The importance of and demand for their dedicated labor has increased during the pandemic.  We must treat this workforce with the respect and dignity they deserve. Too many of the state’s 13,000 homecare workers are underpaid and exploited, and their working conditions have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. Without oversight of working conditions, those home care workers who care for us will also be at risk. Ensuring the quality and safety of Nevada home care services will improve the lives of 13,000 homecare workers in Nevada, and their families, while maintaining the health and independence of tens of thousands of consumers. The Nevada Senate needs to pass SB340.”

“During a pandemic, we call essential workers heroes, which means we have to support them in the way they need to thrive and support their own families. But too often home care workers are misclassified, underpaid, and overworked. SB340 would give these essential workers a seat at the table, and require the state to be transparent and responsive to their needs. PLAN fully supports this legislation, and all home care workers who provide critical care to the most vulnerable Nevadans,” said Laura Martin, Executive Director, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.