WASHINGTON — Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) on Monday announced the introduction of a resolution to dramatically expand and strengthen the care economy and improve conditions and compensations for care workers nationwide.
Just as our physical infrastructure is crumbling, the United States today suffers from a lack of care infrastructure. Millions are struggling to access child care, health care, long-term supports and services, and paid family and medical leave. Growing numbers of care workers, disproportionately women of color and immigrants, face poverty wages and exploitation; along with education, social assistance, and other essential workers, they are on the frontlines of multiple crises in our society. Investing in care work and programs can boost the economy, meet people’s fundamental needs, and help us face the challenges of the 21st century and beyond.
The resolution calls for far-reaching public investments to guarantee the care people need at all stages of life, and to ensure caregivers and care workers are treated with the dignity they deserve. That must include raising pay, benefits, protections, and standards for all care workers, ensuring pathways to unionization, and creating millions of new care jobs over the next decade.
Co-leading the resolution are Reps. Cori Bush (D-MO), Yvette D. Clarke (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Grace Meng (D-NY), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Nikema Williams (D-GA). The resolution has also been endorsed by more than 80 local, state, and national advocacy organizations.
"As we emerge from the pandemic, rescue our economy, and move forward with a national reckoning over systemic racism, we have an historic opportunity to build an America that works for all people — by centering the care that all people need,” Rep. Bowman said. “Care workers, disproportionately Black and brown women, are undervalued and exploited in America today, and people and families struggle to access care. Without a holistic care infrastructure to support us, our economy and society simply cannot thrive. I believe with all my heart that bold, public investments in care for people, communities, and the environment can anchor the rebirth of our country and secure our future."
"The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced that care work is critical infrastructure in our society and how much we’ve undervalued it in the past,” Sen. Warren said. “I’m fighting for the Care for All Agenda to dramatically expand and transform the care economy so that no family has to struggle financially when someone needs care."
“When I worked in childcare, I could not afford to send my own children to the center where I worked. We can no longer wait to guarantee basic protections for our families, communities, and workers,” Rep. Bush said. “We must guarantee paid leave, high quality and affordable childcare, home and community-based care, and long-term care for seniors. We must also ensure better benefits and higher wages, especially for our family caregivers, home health aides, domestic workers, childcare providers, and nurses — positions overwhelmingly held by women, many of whom are Black and Latina. As one of a few nurses in Congress, I spent years doing the emotionally grueling labor of love that our care workers do for our communities, only to be paid so little that we can barely make ends meet. We need an economy of care. I’m proud to join Representative Bowman and Senator Warren in introducing the Care for All Agenda that puts everyday people and families first.”
“The Care for All Agenda is a path towards a better, more equitable America,” Rep. Clarke said. “When we prioritize care investments at the center of our economic recovery, acknowledge the oppressive treatment caregivers, and care workers face. When we are not satisfied with equity for some without equality for all, only then will we see what America is truly capable of. Many of our care-workers are women, women of color, or immigrants. This community is notoriously dedicated and hard-working; they're not looking for a handout. They deserve fair compensation and support. The Care for All Agenda prioritizes our care-workers. I support this legislation.”
“Delivering transformative public investments to the care economy is long overdue, especially as COVID-19 wreaks havoc on our existing limited care infrastructure and exacerbates the racial inequities in our care system,” Rep. Jayapal said. “I am proud to help introduce The Care for All Agenda, as it sets forth a critical and necessary vision for the future of the care economy and the intersections between the care crisis and climate change. A robust and public-invested care economy that centers worker protections and zero-carbon, climate-safe infrastructure will be a vital cornerstone of securing a thriving and equitable society in the 21st century.”
“I am honored to co-lead with Congressman Bowman and our other colleagues the Care For All Agenda in Congress that lays out a roadmap to help ALL care workers thrive in America,” Rep. Meng said. “This initiative comes at a critical time as our nation continues to recover and rebuild from COVID-19. Due to long standing racial biases and gender inequality – women, and especially women of color, in the care economy are being pushed to the brink of collapse. We must correct this and provide the foundation to ensure care workers have the professional resources to thrive."
“This resolution is a powerful tribute to Congressman Bowman’s mother and it holds space for all of us who have played a caregiving role. Care is the backbone of our nation’s economy, yet for too long we have failed to make the critical investments needed to ensure that everyone, at all stages of life, has access to the high-quality care they need and deserve, and that care workers are well-compensated for their essential work,” Rep. Pressley said. “Leading with our values and making robust, long overdue investments, is essential to our work of building a just, equitable economic recovery. I’m proud to join Congressman Bowman on this resolution, committing to do just that.”
“As someone who left the workforce to care for an ailing parent and fought for the dignity of more than 2 million care workers – primarily women of color and immigrants – I know how essential our caregivers are to the country,” said Congresswoman Williams. “Investment in a care infrastructure is desperately needed to ensure the care workforce has the resources needed to provide our elderly, our sick loved ones and our children with quality care while valuing the work done. This resolution recognizes the historical exclusion and oppression care workers have faced due to the country’s widespread and deep-rooted racial and gender inequality. This resolution calls for the creation of an infrastructure to support care workers and caregivers as they help us recover from the pandemic and provide people with care at all stages of life. We have a responsibility to put systems in place to help people not only survive, but also thrive, and the Care for All Agenda does just that."
Co-sponsoring the resolution are Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), André Carson (D-IN), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-IL), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), Ro Khanna (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Brendan F. Boyle (D-PA), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-GU), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jerrod Nadler (D-NY), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).
Click here for a list of quotes from supporting organizations, and see below for a full list of organizations supporting the resolution:
1199SEIU - United Healthcare Workers East
AFGE Local 704
American Federation of Teachers
The Arc of the United States
Autism Society of America
Autistic Self Advocacy Network
Businesses for a Livable Climate
Call to Action Colorado
Campaign for New York Health
Caring Across Generations
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Center for LGBTQ Economic Advancement & Research
Citizen Action of New York
Climate Justice Alliance
Closing the Women's Wealth Gap
Community Change Action
Community Voices Heard
CT Citizen Action Group
Democratic Socialists of America
Earth Action, Inc.
Equal Rights Advocates
Family Values at Work
Grassroots Global Justice
Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy
Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network
In the Public Interest
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
Jane Addams Senior Caucus
The Jewish Vote
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice
Justice in Aging
Latinos for Healthcare Equity
Maine People's Alliance
Marked By COVID
National Coalition for the Homeless
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council on Independent Living
National Domestic Workers Alliance
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Women's Law Center
New Hampshire Youth Movement
New York Caring Majority
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York State Nurses Association
The New York Women's Foundation
NYC Democratic Socialists of America
Paid Leave for All
The People's Lobby
Pilipino Workers Center of Southern California
PL+US: Paid Leave for the United States
Rapid Shift Network
Rise Up WV
Southern Appalachian Labor School
TIME'S UP Now
Torah Trumps Hate
United Vision for Idaho
Women's Environment and Development Organization
Working Families Party
WV Citizen Action Group
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