From fast food to homecare worker, and still fighting for a living wage

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My name is Victoria Lara, and I have been a homecare provider in Chula Vista for three years. Before I became an in-home care provider, I was a fast food worker. I changed professions when my neighbor asked me to be her caregiver. I love my job, because I’m a people person and I love to help people, but I struggle to make ends meet making poverty wages.

When I was a fast food worker, I was underpaid and overworked by my employer. And I believe my employer took advantage of how badly my coworkers and I needed our jobs. No one should have to worry about how they will feed or provide for their children, but many of us did.

We deserved a living wage. Everyone deserves a living wage.

Homecare workers do a job that keeps people safe and healthy. Our work actually saves the government billions of dollars each year, yet we are paid so little.

Many of our clients would say that the care we provide them is priceless, but San Diego County has decided care for seniors and people with disabilities is worth only $9.85 per hour. It is wages like these that make homecare providers among the lowest paid workers in the country.

Our clients depend on us to keep them safe and healthy at home, and we do day in and day out. While most homecare providers do this job because of our compassion and empathy for our clients, no person should be paid less than a living wage, especially for caring for another person.

My client is a 35-year-old man with cerebral palsy. He depends on me to help with household chores, give him his medication, run his errands, and transport him to his doctors’ appointments. Without the help of a homecare provider, my client could be forced out of his home into a more costly nursing home.

For me, like many of my fellow homecare workers, it has been tough. I struggle every month to pay my bills. I dig myself into debt just to stay afloat. I should not have to live this way. Working hard without the guarantee of a living wage is a horrible feeling.

That’s why homecare providers are fighting back!

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In April, we stood with fast food workers in the Fight for $15. At the rally, I told my story to the crowd, and encouraged all low-wage workers to continue fighting for the raise we deserve.

And we did! From New York to Los Angeles, cities and counties across the country have listened to workers, and raised wages to $15 an hour.

But we’re not done yet. On November 10th, workers all over the United States will stand up, fight back, and demand dignity and respect for our work. Hundreds of UDW homecare providers will gather in front of the state building in San Diego to demand a living wage. And after we rally together, we’ll march to city hall and join thousands of other workers, community members, and leaders for a larger rally to demand a raise for all low-wage workers.

This is our fight. Join me in the Fight for $15!

For more information and to RSVP, call 1-800-621-5016.

 

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Paid for by United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund, sponsored by United Domestic Workers of America. Not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.

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