5% Campaign to Increase Wages for Caregivers

Posted at: 10/28/2013 10:52 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- There's a push to get more money for those who care for people with special needs like the elderly and disabled. It's called the "5% Campaign."

"About seven years ago, my brother who was living in an adult foster care at the time, began to have heath issues and needs that the adult foster family could not keep up with," said Mary Brouillard. Since then, her brother Larry has been getting care from Hiawatha Homes and she even joined their board, but over the years they've seen caregivers come and go. "It's frustrating to know that our turnover rate is running at about 44% these last few years just because people are moving on to jobs where they can make a living," said Brouillard.

This is something that's sometimes also difficult for those who rely on them. "It is very hard on the individuals when staff leave and staff have to get used to him all over again," said Brouillard.

That's why she and Larry are telling their story to lawmakers, and why they think these caregivers should get a 5% bump in pay. "We have wonderful staff who are truly very poorly paid for the work that they do," said Brouilard.

They were just a couple of dozens there to show their support. “I have Cerebral Palsy myself, I was born with it and I know it's really challenging at times," said Kurt Rutzen. He lives on his own and says he's so thankful to be able to take care of himself, but still came to rally for others who can't be as independent. "They don't necessarily even want them, they need those services," said Rutzen.

"There are a lot of caregivers in the Rochester area who are very, very dedicated to the individuals that they're serving and we really need to support them," said Brouillard.

Advocates for this campaign have been quoted saying the increase would "boost the paychecks of 112,000 people who work in the industry," in Minnesota. The push is for the 2014 legislative session.