There have been picketing lines outside five different nursing homes trying to negotiate contracts for nursing assistants, housekeepers and others. 1199SEIU NJ Region Executive Vice President Milly Silva told NJTV News Managing Editor Mike Schneider that a recent study showed care givers earning less than $25,000 a year and that it makes it difficult to make ends meet.
“In the state of New Jersey where the United Way issued a study that showed for a family of four, you need to earn anywhere between $45,000 to $50,000 simply to make ends meet,” said Silva. “When workers and these care givers, the people who are taking care of our elders and people with disabilities are earning less than $25,000 a year. You really see the contrast and at $25,000 a year it’s difficult in order to make ends meet.”
Silva said that caregivers are being care for in Medicaid and that they should be able to get health insurance through their employer as oppose to relying on public aid.
When the Affordable Care Act was established, it was meant to make sure 43 million people who had no access to health insurance would be able to purchase insurance through the market place, according to Silva. With health care workers, Silva said that the employer should provide insurance for the workers so they can purchase insurance through them.
Silva also said that in New Jersey, health care workers are struggling to make ends meet and don’t have options in health insurance. She also said that within the health care industry there is an economic fairness issue as well as an issue surrounding the use of tax payer money.
“Why should the state or the federal government have to pay for health benefits for these health care worker when in fact their employer should be able to provide coverage for them,” said Silva.