Healthcare workers and homecare workers work are in a field that makes it impossible for them to avoid COVID-19. After over a year of being some of the most essential frontline workers, they are finally getting some of the recognition they deserve.
One homecare worker, SEIU Virginia Local 512 member Samira Brooks described her experience working during the pandemic, introduced the National Day of Action for Homecare and Healthcare Workers and more on America’s Work Force Union Podcast.
Homecare work in a global pandemic
Brooks said work during the pandemic was very tough and scary. At the beginning, the information and guidance was ever changing. Despite this, homecare and healthcare workers continued showing up to care for others.
She said one of the scariest parts of the pandemic was working with limited or insufficient personal protective equipment. Homecare and healthcare workers were sent out to do their jobs with essentially no protections because there was both a PPE shortage and a labor shortage.
National Day of Action for Homecare and Healthcare Workers
Work on the frontlines has been laboring, but homecare and healthcare workers carried on. For their work, they were recognized with a National Day of Action.
Brooks said the Day of Action was meant to bring awareness to frontline workers and show how important they are. With that being said, Brooks said all frontline workers deserve to be treated as essential. While labeled as essential, many have seen no pay raise, no increase in workplace protections and no boost in funding.
What kind of help are homecare and healthcare workers getting?
Homecare and healthcare workers believe they are making progress on getting the recognition they deserve. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how important these workers are and what happens when they are overwhelmed.
Brooks said she and others are keeping their fingers crossed that new legislation will be introduced with homecare and healthcare workers in mind. Such legislation will need to include additional protections for these workers and systems to hold employers accountable for failing to protect workers.