During a special session of the Nassau County Legislature held on July 26, 2010 a unified and committed Democratic Legislative Caucus insisted that the $1 per hour salary raise promised to home health care workers within the Living Wage law be given to the workers by agencies that contract with the County. The actions of the Democratic Caucus and the members of the workers’ union ultimately persuaded the Republican legislative majority to abandon their proposal to cut the raise. “We are talking about hard working people who earn approximately $22,000 per year performing tasks that most of us would shy away from. Keeping this $1 commitment was not going to place anyone in jeopardy. It was simply the right thing to do,” said Legislator Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead).
The Republican majority’s proposal to cut the $1 raise came on the heels of claims made by home health care agencies that they could not afford to implement the increase.
Legislator Abrahams continued, “This was clearly the right thing to do. Home healthcare workers deserve the $1 they were promised in 2006. I am proud our Democratic Caucus united behind this worthy fight.”
The Living Wage Law was unanimously passed by the Nassau County Legislature in 2006. The law provided for a phase-in salary increase from $9.50 per hour to $12.50. The last $1 dollar increment was scheduled to take effect August 1, 2010. Thanks to the combined efforts of union workers and the Democratic Legislators, the $1 raise will take effect as promised.
Republican opposition to allowing the final $1per hour increase faded after health care agencies failed to prove any financial hardship if the raise went through.