News At rally, The Caring Force calls for pay equity, loan repayment program

Nearly 500 members of The Caring Force rallied at the State House on May 14 with the message for legislators: It’s time to take care of the caregivers.

Attendees used the stage of the Eighth Annual Caring Force Rally to raise awareness of the workforce crisis in the Massachusetts human services sector. They called on lawmakers to pass bills that would bring salaries of community-based providers in line with state employees doing comparable work and  establish a student loan repayment program for low-paid human services professionals.

The Caring Force also recognized two legislative champions, Sen. Cindy Friedman and House Ways & Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz. Sen. Friedman is the sponsor of Senate Bill 1077, An act relative to fair pay for comparable work.

Caring Force members Marc Bourassa, a Berkshire County Arc site manager; Kristen Tingley, crisis clinician for psychiatric emergency services at Advocates; and Maribel Soto and Tenaya Queen, two alumnae of Roxbury Youthworks’ GIFT Program, shared their inspirational stories with the crowd in the Great Hall.

Following the rally, Caring Force members streamed out through the State House to meet with their state representatives and senators to talk about the impact the legislation would have for them, their organizations and the individuals they care for.

To learn more about the Providers’ Council’s Pro-Workforce Legislative Agenda, including the fair pay and student loan repayment bills, click here. If you have questions, please email Bill Yelenak at bill@providers.org or call 617.428.3637.

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