Worked Over

Caregivers work hard. They work hella hard. And fact is, the caregiving industry is unregulated. Care home owners, often Filipino, relegate caregivers, often Filipina, to  exploitative conditions, and thus, endangering their patients. Not a new fact: Filipino Community Center and MIGRANTE, among many organizations, have been organizing around these issues for years.

For me, its part of my history. When we landed in the US, a care home is what I called home. My grandmother, the matriarch of our family, cared for 6 elderly people. Me and my siblings helped her. I know what the daily grind looks like. I lent my history and my sociological perspective on the story of caregivers starting to get the media spotlight it deserves.

Just this week, Reveal News published a podcast, The Unpaid Cost of Elder Care, and published a story: “Elder care homes rake in profits as legions of workers earn a pittance for long hours of care“. On this podcast, I tried to shed light on the reasons why caregivers like Sonia and Normita might feel bound to their exploitative employer, Rommel Publico. After years of organizing and even living out this story, I’m still trying to make sense of the conditions under which Filipinos exploit other Filipinos, while trying to combat the narrative of migrant workers’ docility.

I’ve been pitching this as my second book.  Just speaking it aloud. Trying to figure out this riddle, sociologically. I’ve started the research but haven’t dug my heels in for the long road of collecting the data, formulating the themes for the chapters and writing it. But I’m trying to manifest it. This podcast and set of articles are pushing me to really solidify a plan to do this research and political work, with organizations, to recover these stories and tell them from our perspective.

Normita Lim
Image: Photo of Normita Lim, subject of Reveal News story from The Washington Post

Reveal News’ investigative journalism on Filipino caregivers is also out on various Associated Press publications around the country such as The Washington PostThe New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report

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