Bosworth Leads Fight to Secure $1 Raise for Healthcare Workers
During a special session of the Nassau County Legislature held on July 26, 2010, Legislator Judi Bosworth (D- Great Neck), along with a unified and committed Democratic Legislative Caucus insisted that the $1 per hour salary raise scheduled to take effect August 1st under the Nassau County Living Wage law be given to home health care workers, as required by the law. The Democratic Caucus and members of the workers’ union ultimately persuaded the Republican legislative majority to abandon their proposal to cut the raise. Minority Leader Diane Yatauro said, “We are talking about hard working people who earn approximately $22,000 per year performing tasks that most of us would shy away from. Keeping this $1 commitment was not going to place anyone in jeopardy. It was simply the right thing to do.”
The Republican majority’s proposal to cut the $1 raise came on the heels of claims made by some home health care agencies that they could not afford to implement the increase. Legislator Bosworth commented, “I was truly surprised when the Republican majority proposed a local law to prevent our hard working home health care providers from receiving the $1 an hour raise that was provided in the 2006 Living Wage Law. That year, a Living Wage Panel had ascertained that the Living Wage in Nassau County should be $12.50 an hour. In a nod to the Health Care Agencies’ assertion that they couldn’t afford to increase salaries to that extent, it was agreed that this new definition of a living wage would be phased in. It was hard for me to understand how the Living Wage could be found to be $12.50 an hour in the year 2006 and then redefined to be $11.50 an hour four years later in the year 2010! I felt strongly that we had a responsibility to make sure those who provide a better quality of life for our parents, grandparents and children with disabilities, by allowing them to receive care in their own homes, earn enough money to provide a better quality of life for themselves.”
The Living Wage Law was unanimously passed by the Nassau County Legislature in 2006. The law provided for a phase-in salary increase from $9.50 per hour to $12.50. The last $1 dollar increment was scheduled to take effect August 1, 2010. Thanks to the combined efforts of union workers and the Democratic Legislators, the $1 raise will take effect as provided in the law. Republican opposition to allowing the final $1 per hour increase faded after health care agencies failed to provide any evidence of financial hardship if the raise went through.
Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth (D-Great Neck) is pictured during a press conference advocating for home healthcare workers to receive the Living Wage raise as stipulated by law. Legislator Bosworth is flanked by home healthcare workers as well as fellow legislators
Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), David Denenberg (D-Merrick), Wayne Wink (D-Roslyn) and Diane Yatauro (D-Glen Cove).