The basis for organizing Filipino caregivers in the US is so astoundingly apparent. Stories about caregivers being overworked and underpaid are commonplace in Filipino communities. Many family members, community organizers, even popular films, understand that even if care homes are ways to get work, people gamble with the work being hard and the pay might not come through.
A recent LA Times article called, “An 87-hour work week for $4” recounts the horrible abuses Filipino caregivers and the victory that 66 workers achieved in their $1.1 million settlement. The protracted struggle of a 3 year legal battle has and was backed with supportive officials in the CA Department of Labor, who have issued rightful citations to wrongful carehome owners.
Still, this group of workers are often isolated. Working in care homes owned and visited frequently by the owners. Where camaraderie with one another is often facilitated by owners in the veil of benevolence. Where contact with one another is limited to the shift your on. Where families in the Philippines are quite dependent on whatever wages one makes.
Yet, the workers are in need of collective power. The CA DoL is apparently paying attention. And if the crisis of elder care in this country is not resolved (it won’t be in the next few years), this group of workers will be come essential to caring for your/our loved ones in their golden years. The need is obvious.