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NYC home attendants demand an end to 24-hour workdays!

By staff

NYC home attendants rally at city hall demanding an end to 24-hour workdays. | Fight Back! News/staff

New York, New York – A crowd of 100 demonstrators rallied in front of New York City Hall on Friday, March 22, to support home health aides on a hunger strike to end the inhumane 24-hour workdays that home attendants in New York City are forced to endure.

New York is the only state that permits health care agencies to schedule workers for 24-hour shifts, rather than dividing that period into two 12-hour shifts like other states. These 24-hour shifts leave workers exhausted, with little time to see their own families, and often result in chronic injuries and serious health conditions for the workers. Furthermore workers, who are predominantly immigrant women of color, are typically paid for only 13 out of those 24 hours.

Beginning March 20, several home attendants embarked on a hunger strike to demand city council pass the No More 24 Act, a bill which would ban these 24-hour shifts. But Speaker of City Council Adrienne Adams refuses to bring the bill to a vote.

At the rally on Friday, organized by GABRIELA New York and Youth Against Sweatshops, the crowd chanted “No more 24!” in reference to the bill.

Speakers highlighted the irony of Speaker Adams, the first Black speaker presiding over the first women-majority city council, turning her back on her fellow women of color. The speaker from GABRIELA NYC called attention to this fact, demanding to know “Speaker Adams, do you not have the courage to bear witness to these women going hungry? Or are you ignoring them to avoid a little discomfort?”

Other speakers at the protest included former home attendants who discussed their own experiences working brutal 24 hour shifts. One speaker related how while caring for her own 91-year-old mother, she was unable to get the health care agency to split the day into two 12-hour shifts. As a result of the exhaustion the speaker suffered trying to maintain this impossible schedule, her mother slipped and broke her hip.

Briony Smith, speaking on behalf of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, highlighted the financial interests involved, saying, “It is shameful that after ten years of home attendants tirelessly organizing, Speaker Adrienne Adams would still rather let women starve themselves on the steps of city hall than shave a single cent off the profits of health care agencies and insurance companies.”

As long as the city council continues to permit these inhumane working conditions and refuses to vote on the No More 24 Act, home attendants in New York City will continue to hunger strike and organize to demand an end to the 24-hour workday.

#NewYorkNY #NY #Labor #Healthcare #GABRIELA #FRSO #