FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 3, 2023
Contact: Daniela Perez, [email protected]
The summit, led by NDWA, SEIU, AFL-CIO, AFT, AFSCME, Community Change, Care in Action, and Care Can’t Wait, will take place in Washington, D.C., on April 18 and 19.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a White House Proclamation declaring April as Care Workers Recognition Month to celebrate and highlight the critical contributions of care workers and caregivers across the nation and emphasize the growing demand for a robust care infrastructure for our future. In an unprecedented show of unity of workers and leaders across the care economy, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), SEIU, AFL-CIO, AFT, AFSCME, Community Change, MomsRising, Care in Action, and Care Can’t Wait will gather in Washington, D.C. for the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit on April 18th and 19th to sound the alarm and point the way forward. This summit, the first of its kind, launches a renewed effort to educate the nation, improve the quality of jobs, and recognize care workers for fighting for an equitable care economy that centers all workers across care industries.
Care workers and attendees will form a community and access prominent guest speakers, which include public figures like Morena Baccarin and Members of Congress, including Senator Tammy Duckworth, Democratic Whip Katherine Clark, and Representatives Angie Craig, Jimmy Gomez, Pramila Jayapal, Jan Schakowsky, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
NDWA and partners – along with Congressional care champions – look forward to celebrating and thanking care workers who care for our loved ones and have worked tirelessly toward receiving national acknowledgment of what our movement has known all along – that care is essential, and care can’t wait.
Ai-jen Poo, President, and Jenn Stowe, Executive Director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), released the following statement:
“Caring for one another is a fundamental need; our future can’t wait. The first-ever Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit is an unprecedented gathering of care workers throughout the care economy – childcare, aging and disability care, and all direct care – coming together to illuminate the path for a better, cared-for future.
The foundation of a thriving economy is a strong care economy – and the beating heart of the care economy is care workers. The demand for care is only growing, much like our generational milestones. Four million children are born yearly, and another four million turn 65. We simply can not wait to transform the care landscape. Following the White House’s announcement declaring April as ‘Care Workers Recognition Month,’ we’re excited to join partners in leading the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit on April 18 and 19.
This April, let’s commit to delivering what care workers need: good, living wage jobs and the support to thrive as the workforce that makes all other work possible. American families, especially Black and brown women, have been advocating for the necessary infrastructure to support care workers’ needs. This historic gathering will unite our voices and demand transformative change with our nation’s capital as the backdrop.
Care workers are a key pillar of our economy and lives; they’re at the frontlines of the mounting care crisis, enabling families to go to work knowing that their children, our elders, and disabled loved ones are in good hands. We cannot wait another moment to recognize their work.
It is time to offer care, wages, benefits, and stronger work environments for our care workers. It is time to reduce the strain on our caregivers. It is time to make permanent investments to strengthen care infrastructure for our working families, loved ones, the economy, and our future. Join us.”
About the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit
The Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit – organized by the National Domestic Workers Alliance, AFL-CIO, AFT, AFSCME, Community Change, Care Can’t Wait, and SEIU – is a historic convening of workers from throughout the care economy – childcare, aging, and disability care, and all direct care – joining together to celebrate and bring forth one voice for change.
The Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit will feature plenary sessions with care workers, key decision-makers, and advocates. Discussions will include care workers sharing their experiences and challenges; the power of unions in a resilient economy; connecting family caregivers, workers, and consumers; addressing the care workforce crisis; and the future of care.
Mary Kay Henry, International President, SEIU
“Every person and every family needs care workers. It’s long past time we make sure the Black, Latina, and immigrant women that power our nation’s care infrastructure have a voice on the job together in a union and are paid living wages with the benefits and support they need to thrive. Now, at the Care Can’t Wait Summit, working people are coming together to demand nothing short of an economic transformation that centers care work and care workers and charts a course towards a brighter future. During Care Workers Recognition Month and beyond, we must celebrate, protect and build power with the workers who care for us and our loved ones.”
Liz Shuler, President, AFL-CIO
“Care work connects us all and is the foundation of our economy, but after decades of shortsighted policies that have starved the care system of much-needed funding, care workers are struggling. Care workers, most of whom are women of color, are the hardest-working working people in our country, but their work continues to be undervalued. All working families deserve a care economy that meets our needs, and that includes care workers. America’s unions are committed to ensuring that care jobs are good union jobs with good wages, strong benefits and basic safety protections. We look forward to standing in solidarity with care workers, caregivers and our partners at the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit and to use our collective voice to finally achieve real progress.”
Randi Weingarten, President, AFT
“Care work makes all other work possible, helping children learn and grow, protecting the injured, ill and aging, and keeping our neighborhoods safe. The work of our union and the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit is to help make care jobs good, family-sustaining ones, where the folks providing the care can themselves access healthcare, as well as economic opportunity in safe work environments. Unfortunately, care work remains largely invisible: unprotected by labor laws, and all too often, informal, and unrecognized for just how important it is—and just how important care workers are to the fabric of our society and the functioning of our economy. Thankfully, President Biden understands this, and is standing up for families by declaring April Care Worker Recognition month. He’s saying care workers matter and he’s making it part of a family-first agenda to help real people access the real things they need to work, learn, and access opportunities.”
Lee Saunders, President, AFSCME
“Whether looking after our children or supporting the elderly and people with disabilities, care workers are the backbone of our economy and our communities. For too long, this workforce, made up overwhelmingly of women and people of color, has been undervalued and overlooked, with so many care providers expected to work long hours for criminally low wages. But thanks to decades of organizing, care workers are finally getting the recognition and respect they deserve. At the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit, we will continue to discuss strategies for organizing and mobilizing our communities to improve care across the country. It’s high time care workers are treated as the everyday heroes they are.”
Afua Atta-Mensah, Chief of Programs, Community Change
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with a dynamic group of organizations on the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit. A woefully underfunded care system has placed a huge burden on the shoulders of women, disproportionately Black and brown women, who make up the majority of childcare workers. For far too long care providers have been forced to live on poverty wages. We need long-term investments to meet the needs of our children and create a more equitable and inclusive economy. Imagine a childcare system funded on the true cost of care – one that would make sure all of our children have access to high-quality care and education, support providers who can keep the jobs they love, and open up affordable daycare slots for working parents. I’m glad that President Biden declared April as Care Workers Recognition Month. It’s going to take a commitment from all of us to build the care infrastructure we need.”
CARE CAN’T WAIT
“The need for care workers in the country is only growing. The care workforce is rapidly increasing as our families grow, age, and flourish. However, the workforce, a workforce made predominantly of women of color, continues to face unabated challenges and deep-seated inequalities: low pay, long hours, lack of benefits, and unpaid labor. The Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit is a crucial first step in recognizing and acknowledging the critical services that our care workers deliver to families each and every day despite these barriers.
“It is time to ensure that care jobs are good jobs. It is time to make permanent investments to strengthen our care infrastructure for our families, loved ones, the economy, and our future. We simply can not wait any longer to transform the care landscape so everyone can live, work, and age with dignity.”
If you want to learn more about the Care Workers Can’t Wait Summit on April 18 and 19, please email [email protected].