June 2012, Week 2


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Sat, 9 Jun 2012 14:36:33 -0400
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National Town Hall Held in Washington D.C to Address
Jobs Crisis

By Naomi Demsas
Caring Across Generations campaign organizer
Jobs with Justice
June 5, 2012


Hundreds gathered for the Caring Across Generations
Legislative Town Hall Caring Across Generations (CAG)
hosted a national legislative town hall meeting in
Washington D.C., featuring personal testimony from
seniors, people with disabilities, direct care workers
and consumers who shared their personal stories about
legislative solutions to the country's current long
term care crisis.

"Every eight seconds another American turns 65 in this
country, the Baby Boom generation age wave is here, and
we are not ready for it," says Sarita Gupta, co-
director of Caring Across Generations. "But in this
massive challenge, there is a huge opportunity for us
as a country, to create at least 2 million good jobs to
meet the growing need for in home care. We will discuss
how we are going to make this happen, and hear from
those directly impacted at our national town hall."

Grassroots leaders from all over the country were
present to ask Congress to protect the programs that
are currently in place, and to create programs to
restructure our economy and solve the current care
crisis. This legislative town hall meeting was a
follow-up to the May 14th Caring Across Generations
briefing and provided an opportunity for open and
honest dialogue about the affordability and
availability of long-term care, and retirement

"Caring across generations is so important because it
would strengthen and stabilize the industry by
developing a pathway to citizenship and provide basic
workplace protections like other workers have now,"
said Nikki Brown-Booker, a Bay Area member leader of
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Association. "All
of these things would ensure that I, and other persons
with a disability and seniors would receive the support
and services that they need to be treated with respect
and dignity."

Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) introduced a "sense of the
Senate" resolution (pdf) on May 10 expressing the need
for a comprehensive approach to expanding and
supporting a strong home care workforce, as well as
making long-term services and supports affordable and
accessible to elders and people with disabilities.

Among the reasons cited for a comprehensive policy
approach to meeting the nation's caregiving needs are:

    - Over the course of the next two decades, the 
    number of Americans aged 65 and older will increase 
    from 40 million to 70 million; 70 percent of 
    Americans over 65 require some form of long-term 
    services and supports.

    - There are currently 12 million adults, nearly 
    half of whom are 65 or older, who are in need of 
    long-term services and supports due to functional 
    limitations; this is project to grow to 27 million 
    by 2050.

    - The current direct-care workforce is well over 3
    million strong - with an additional 1.8 million
    workers needed over the next decade to keep pace
    with growing demand. This workforce provides 70 to
    80 percent of the hands-on care and personal
    assistance received by Americans who are elderly or
    living with disabilities or other conditions.

    - The quality of home care jobs is poor with low 
    wages, few benefits, high turnover and a high level 
    of job  stress and hazards.

The Resolution focuses on a range of policy solutions
that include job creation, job quality, workforce
training and advancement, pathways to citizenship, and
strategies to make care affordable and accessible to
consumers and their families.

These solutions are embedded in the Caring Across
Generation policy platform and are part of its
educational and advocacy efforts.  Jobs with Justice
believes that all work should be valued.  Good jobs are
the cornerstone of strong, healthy, happy communities.
What is a good job?  A good job is one where workers
have collective bargaining rights, employment security,
and wages and benefits that allow their families to
enjoy a decent standard of living and earn a fair share
of the wealth produced by their labor.

It is in that spirit that Jobs with Justice Coalitions
have joined working groups called "Care Councils". Care
Councils include organizations representing the full
range of relationships to care, including older adults,
people with disabilities, women's groups, worker
organizations and unions, immigrant rights, faith-
based, community and youth organizations. Care Councils
will work together to develop shared local and state-
based policy platforms and anchor local initiatives to
promote the campaign values and policy goals, such as
City Council Resolutions and "Care Congresses."

Two upcoming Care Congresses include ALIGN: ALIGN: The
Alliance for a Greater New York's/JWJ on June 3rd and
Massachusetts Jobs with Justices Care Congress on June
16th. For more information log on to
www.caringacrossgenerations.org .

As we fight for full and fair employment for all Caring
Across Generations is one step in the right direction
for this nation. We come together for one another's
fights and we unite to take on struggles that none of
us could win alone.  The only way we can win is if we
stand together.


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