Andrew Manning: Unionizing personal care attendants a plus

Letter to the Editor, Mankato Free Press, April 25, 2013

I’ve worked as a personal care attendant for more than 20 years, caring for seniors and people with disabilities in the Mankato and surrounding communities.

I first started working as a PCA while studying special education at Mankato State. I’ve continued the work even though I have a different full-time job. I take pride in the work I do as a PCA.

I work around 20 hours a week for five different clients who depend on me to maintain their quality of life and continue living independently. Because of my experience, I’m often asked to train other workers on how to provide quality care, be responsive to clients individual needs and to take the job seriously. I am not paid for any of the time I spend training others, but do it for the benefit of those receiving care.

I’ve seen so many PCAs come and go over the years. Many home-care workers leave for jobs with better pay and benefits. The high rate of turnover affects the clients who depend on these services.

Each time a PCA leaves, clients have to start all over in developing a relationship with a new worker.

I believe we could reduce turnover and improve the standards of workers and quality of care if we had a union in Minnesota.

A union would allow PCAs to negotiate for better wages and benefits, which would give us all a better sense of self worth for the important work we do.

Andrew Manning, North Mankato

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