Janet Konezny: Unionization would give us a voice

Letter to the Editor, Sun Current, April 24, 2013

http://current.mnsun.com/2013/04/letter-unionization-would-give-us-a-voice/

I am the home care worker for my 50-year-old son, who has schizophrenia. He lives independently at his apartment in St. Louis Park. I come by regularly to make sure everything is OK and help him with his schedule and routine.

He’s been receiving home care services since he was 25, but it’s been difficult to find good, reliable and trustworthy home care workers. When I retired, I took over as his home care worker myself to ensure he would get the care he needed.

My son is penalized with a “family deductible” – a monthly fee he has to pay in order to have me be his home care worker. It’s discriminatory to family members and makes no sense.

The work other home care workers and I do helps people like my son live independently and stay out of institutions, which saves the state money. We deserve some benefits like sick leave, vacation, and health insurance.

I want a union for home care workers so we can have more of a voice in how the system works. This will help ensure there is a stable, viable workforce. We also need to prioritize mental health more in our state, and by having a voice with a home care union, we can advocate for this kind of change.

Janet Konezny, Edina

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