Boston, MA – Tomorrow, more than 22,000 professional home care workers in Massachusetts are poised to dramatically transform healthcare and enable thousands of seniors and people with disabilities to remain in their own homes rather than institutions, as the results of a union ballot are announced tomorrow in Massachusetts. This vote—the largest union election in New England History—will stabilize an industry plagued by high turnover, poor benefits, and low wages. The SEIU is the nation’s fastest growing union and a key leader in professionalizing service-sector industries in order to improve the daily lives of workers as well as the lives of the families they serve.
Professionalizing personal care attendants will have national implications as the number of Americans in need of long-term care wills more than double by 2050. The United States is ill-equipped to handle the current demand for long-term care, and the growing elderly population will only exacerbate these strains. In a report, entitled “Caring About Long Term Care,” the Center for American Progress lays out the framework for dealing with this issue.
This report outlines seven ethical principles of caregiving. From this foundation, we can better envision and design specific policy strategies. The seven principals are:
- An Ecological Ethic: Recognizing the interconnectedness of people, systems, and policies.
- Respect for Human Dignity: Respecting the unique worth of all people and their pursuit of a good life at all stages.
- Beneficence: Maximizing benefits, including health and security.
- Compassion: Demonstrating concern for the well-being of others, especially the vulnerable.
- Reciprocity: Appreciating and compensating those who give back to society.
- Temperance: Taking a long view rather than looking for short-term fixes.
- Social Justice: Treating all people fairly and equally and building just social institutions.