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Missouri home care attendants demand higher wages

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The Missouri Home Care Union has quite the battle ahead of it. Union members are requesting wages for home care attendants be raised to $11 an hour.  Attendants are responsible for assisting elderly individuals and people with physical disabilities.

"Most attendants make either minimum wage or up to 8.60," said Elizabeth Travis, home care attendant and bargainer for the union. "It's really important we raise it up to a minimum of $11 because we're the ones doing the work."

Attendants are responsible for traveling to and from customers' homes and financing each trip. For many, this process is not only taxing, but hard on their pocket.

"We're making the time. We're getting more and more clients. We have to go back and forth to and from clients. Sometimes I have three or four clients just in one day and that takes expenses out of my pocket," said Travis.

At current wages, Travis said home care attendants are unable to get by.  And she said it causes high turnover. Travis also said  higher wages would lead to better dedication and stability for workers.

"The consumers need the certainty that attendants offer them, but the attendants don’t really have any certainty in their employment," said Travis.

The Missouri Home Care Union website reports the members must reach an agreement with the Missouri Quality Home Care Council which is an organization established by voters in 2008. The union and council will meet later this month to bargain for an agreement on the workers' base pay. If an agreement is reached, the two organizations would then ask the State Department of Social Services for approval.