In the past month, Jawonio has led advocacy efforts as a part of the #bFair2DirectCare campaign, which is urging Governor Cuomo to add $45 million into the state budget, each year for the next six years to provide for fair wages for direct care workers who provide critical services for individuals with disabilities that help them maintain their independence and to be active in their communities. We are also asking for $18 Million to be added to the budget to support fair wages for Special Education staff who educate and care for children with disabilities and special needs. Due to the suppressed wages of Direct Care Workers there is now a staffing crisis in the Mid-Hudson Valley region and all across the state. Direct Care Workers have not seen a substantial increase in almost 8 years. They are leaving for other jobs that pay more and many who do stay, have to work second jobs just to make ends meet. Across the state there are some agencies that have been so impacted by staffing shortages that they are in jeopardy of closing.
This wage issue must be addressed by the Governor or there will not be enough staff to provide critical direct care services, which the state is constitutionally required to provide.
Jawonio’s activities included a letter writing campaign, online petition, in person testimony at both local and state budget meetings as well as in person meetings in Albany with our representatives. Consumers, families, staff were engaged at all levels of advocacy. Thousands of letters were signed and sent to Governor Cuomo. Hundreds of people signed our online petition and many staff, consumers and families gave testimony in Albany. You can follow the story on social media on Twitter and Facebook.
Special thanks to Nancy Cutler of the Journal News for coming to our campus to visit and tell the #bfair2directcare story. You can read her editorial and watch the video at the right. Please see our photo and video highlights below.
Photo and video highlights from our #bFair2DirectCare campaign
Our delegation at the NYS Budget Hearing on February 22. Thank you Assemblyman Kenneth P. Zebrowski, Assemblywoman Ellen C. Jaffee and Senator David Carlucci for hosting the NYS Budget hearing. Janet Murphy, Jawonio Director of Community Living Services, Gail Nachimson, Pre-School Euducation Diretor, Bill and Alex Van Slyke, Tatiana Cloutaire and our New City Day Hab joined by our JAG Advocacy group from Rockland all gave powerful and strong testimony.
Our Westchester Advocacy group had a great day in Albany on February 28th, sharing their stories and advocating for fair wages for direct care workers. Tiffany Ellis and Joe Maniscalco, Jawonio staff along with Yonkers Day Hab Self-Advocates, Kevin, Nicky, Rodney, Richard and Kareene with Assemblywoman Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow and Assembly Majority leader Joe Morelli.