Two ServiceNet Direct Care Employees Speak at Caring Force Rally at State House
The Caring Force held its 11th annual rally at the Massachusetts State House on Tuesday, May 16. Two ServiceNet direct care workers, Olivia Moultrie and Alaisha Giles, gave powerful speeches about the Caring Force’s current legislative initiatives and the importance of valuing and supporting the human services sector.
The Caring Force is currently supporting two legislative bills to address the ongoing direct care employee crisis: one that would ensure a livable wage for human service staff working in private, community-based nonprofit human service organizations—which would be equivalent to wages paid to state workers filling the same roles; and one that would create a student loan repayment program for human service workers.
Olivia Moultrie comes from a family of public servants. The drive to help is in her blood, and she is passionate about her work. But without a livable wage, it can be a struggle for people in her role to meet their needs, including affordable housing and health care emergencies.
“It takes a special kind of person to do this job. This job is not for the weak,” Olivia says. “We keep people alive for a living—don’t we deserve to live our lives, too?”
Alaisha Giles spoke of direct care workers’ difficult choices, such as working more overtime or having multiple jobs to make ends meet or spending that time with their families. She noted that many food service and retail positions pay more and require less responsibility. She doesn’t begrudge their wages but wonders why human services workers aren’t considered just as valuable.
“The real question is, what can the legislature and other elected officials do to ensure all human services workers earn a livable wage,” said Alaisha. “Why are the people providing 24-hour care to your loved ones getting paid less than those scanning your food or clothes?”
After the event, attendees met with various officials, including Senator Jo Comerford, who also received an award at the event.
The Caring Force is the grassroots advocacy initiative of the Providers’ Council, an association of community-based human services agencies in Massachusetts with more than 220 members. ServiceNet CEO Susan Stubbs is a member of the Council’s Board of Directors.
The Caring Force empowers people who care about the human services sector to advance an agenda in Massachusetts that protects our most vulnerable neighbors while creating a stronger economy in which human service workers receive the pay, recognition, and respect they deserve.