Direct Support Worker Seeks Fair Pay

By: Edward Gallagher

It’s a challenge to get by because my salary is too low. We are underpaid not because of CLASS’ choice, but because we’re not accounted for like we should be in the state budget.

To supplement my family’s income, I have a job on the side. My wife also has two jobs: school teacher and retail clerk. My co-workers also have other jobs. Some pick up graveyard shifts on the weekend. They also work in group homes or provide respite. Sometimes my counterparts work seven days a week totaling a 60-plus hour work week. This is what we have to do to help our families get by. This is not fair, especially learning that state workers doing jobs similar to ours have been given raises. Just recently, a three percent increase in pay.

My jobs limit time I can spend with my family. We are not able to take as many vacations now, but I’m happy that we find time to spend some quality time with each other. My son is an athlete who competes in Special Olympics. I have coached basketball, soccer, and track and field for 21 years. My family goes to these events together. As time allows, we are also active in a local theatre group.
Working in the human services field should not be a struggle.

Direct care workers should not have to worry about getting by because they’re not paid enough. The cost of everything has gone up, for instance health care and fuel costs. What happens to us if an emergency comes up? Even something small that’s unexpected hits us hard. I was fortunate to buy a house while working in my first career, but getting in a car accident a few months ago has made it financially tough for my family. I now have to figure out how to make car payments. I was also injured, so I need to figure out how to pay those medical bills as well.

We deserve a raise!

Direct care workers have not received a salary increase in five years. This must change! Please, I urge you to fight for $28M in the budget for the EOHHS Salary Reserve. Relieve pressure on my family and my coworkers.

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