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CT Gov Dannel Malloy
Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy
(Official photo)
Over the past year, Republicans in states like Wisconsin and Ohio have restricted, or tried to restrict, collective bargaining rights. But in Connecticut, the state legislature has passed and Gov. Dannel Malloy plans to sign a bill giving collective bargaining rights to home care and daycare workers paid through public programs. Both daycare workers and home care workers had already voted to unionize, allowed to do so by an executive order Malloy previously signed.

The expansion of collective bargaining rights is a good thing—these workers do important work that's physically and emotionally demanding and pays far too little. It's also something that raises legitimate concerns for disabled people, for instance, who rely on home care workers. If workers are paid more, do the people who need care get less care? This is one of those questions that America is currently really bad at handling, and that typically gets framed as low-wage workers vs. disabled people, two groups with little power put into conflict when the real issue is, as it is so often, the class war from above, the powerful starving those with little power of resources and then pitting them against each other to fight for the crumbs.

Instead we should be arguing that people who need home care deserve stable care from workers paid enough that they don't need food stamps or other assistance to get by; a theme sounded by Malloy:

"I know this issue has caused anxiety for some but let's lay to rest any concerns that residents may have.  I believe our state government has an obligation to protect our most vulnerable, young and old alike," he said. "It's my hope that elected representation will lead to better wages, and therefore more stability in each of the fields -- a development that will help both client and care workers."
We need more politicians who will reject the false choice between adequate services and adequate workers' rights and pay.

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