After 5 days, hunger strike to end 24-hour home health aide shifts comes to a close.
Health

24-Hour Shifts for Health Care Aides: A Five-Day Hunger Strike for Change in New York

After five days of hunger striking outside City Hall in New York, the 20 women who were fighting for an end to 24-hour shifts for health care aides were greeted with flowers and applause. One of the strikers, Lai Yee Chan, a 69-year-old home health aide for 22 years, expressed feeling both exhausted and energized as she fought for change.

During a rally held in support of the hunger strikers, speakers emphasized the need to unite and fight against a system that they believe is exploitative. Councilman Christopher Marte introduced a bill in the City Council to ban 24-hour work shifts for health care aides. Critics argue that the issue should be addressed at the state level, citing concerns about rising health care costs and potential service gaps.

Industry representatives and City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams have been contacted for their perspectives on the issue. While opponents of the bill claim that current state law allows for 13 hours of pay for a 24-hour shift, hunger strikers and supporters disagree with this interpretation. Despite the hunger strike ending after five days, organizers have stated that this is just a pause and more protest actions are planned, including a larger one for May Day.

The rising demand for health care aides, coupled with a decreasing workforce, underscores the importance of reforming working conditions for these essential workers. Councilman Marte emphasized the need to eliminate 24-hour shifts, stating that no one should be subjected to such grueling work hours. In the face of ongoing challenges, the hunger strikers aim to rest, regroup, and return with renewed energy to continue advocating for change.

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