Home health workers march in Rochester

May 23, 2018

Home health aides were marching in Rochester Wednesday for fair wages and benefits.

The theme for the event was "Invisible No More," and Kellie Chisolm has been a home care worker since she started caring for her mother at age 12.

She says home care professionals need better working conditions and suitable pay.

"Our jobs are hard, and we get up every day with the anticipation of looking forward to seeing our clients.  And this is something that we enjoy doing.  But if the conditions aren't right for us, then it’s hard for us to continue to do our jobs," she said.

Credit healthcareworkersrising.org

Chisolm says many home health aides have to rely on public assistance, as well.

She says raising the wage for home care professionals to $15 dollars would be appropriate because of the services they offer.

"We give them a good quality of care for the participants that live in their homes.  And these family members want to keep their loved ones at home for as long as they possibly can.  So I feel as though, yes, it should go up to $15 dollars an hour," she said.

So does Assemblyman Harry Bronson.

He addressed the rally Wednesday afternoon.

Bronson says while the home health care industry is one of the fastest growing job sectors, those workers are among the lowest paid, and it's time to value this profession.

"Valuing what they are doing for our families and how they are helping us.  And in turn, demand that they get paid $15 dollars an hour with some essential benefits," he said.

Bronson says higher wages will reduce turnover and help improve care.

The march on Wednesday by home health aides started at Nathaniel Square Park and ended at Manhattan Square Park.