Health Care Workers Rally in Olympia

They’ll share results of a new survey by their union, SEIU Healthcare 775, which found that most Washington voters support the wage increase. The backing crosses party lines, from 76 percent of Democrats to 69 percent of independents and 64 percent of Republicans.

Home-care workers are an increasingly important part of the long-term care picture, Young said, keeping people out of more expensive nursing homes by assisting with their chores, medications and doctor visits. For the money, she said, it’s a big responsibility.

“We have not had a pay raise for five years. Five years! We perform essential jobs here,” she said. “We’re barely able to take care of ourselves, let alone our clients. So, we have so many workers that choose between gas in the car or food.”

The wage increase is part of the budget that former Gov. Chris Gregoire submitted for the next two years, but it’s up to the Legislature to agree. Funding shortages in the past few years already have prompted the state to cut back the hours of care that home-care clients receive.

The SEIU poll results are online at