Opinion | Home Health Workers in New York

To the Editor:

As calls for Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation mount amid accusations of sexual misconduct and a workplace hostile to women, let’s remember his history of enabling abusive practices against female workers.

Thousands of women of color and immigrants toil as home attendants providing care to elderly, ill or disabled people who require round-the-clock attention. Mr. Cuomo has promoted 24-hour shifts at 13 hours of pay, giving insurance companies immense control over care and conditions as they contract with agencies that tell workers: It’s 24-hour shifts or nothing.

Caregivers, care recipients and others call on state officials to support bill S. 359 and A. 3145A, which require 24-hour care to be split into two shifts of 12 hours. Mr. Cuomo fails to support this bill even during a pandemic when home attendants lack protection and face wage theft and dangerous conditions. He also vetoed the Sweat bill, which would thwart wage theft.

The governor must stop these abuses by ending the 24-hour workday and ending wage theft. Giving workers control over their time and owed wages means workers will have more power to ensure that their rights as workers and as women are protected.

Sarah DiChristina
JoAnn Lum
Ms. DiChristina is a member of the Disability Education and Advocacy Network of Western New York. Ms. Lum is co-executive director of the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops.

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