SEIU 509 Statement in Response to Auditor Bump’s Chapter 257 Audit

“The passage of Chapter 257 was a first step at leveling the playing field for human services workers across our Commonwealth. And now the verdict is in: Nearly ten years after its implementation, Chapter 257 has failed to substantially lift the wages of direct care workers.

Auditor Suzanne Bump’s analysis underscores a powerful ripple effect. When we invest in human service agencies, providers have stronger financial outcomes. And most importantly: we’ve improved patient care across our Commonwealth. But let me be clear: After hundreds of millions of dollars in rate increases, marginal raises for direct care workers is unacceptable.

Direct care workers provide the highest quality of care to the elderly, developmentally disabled, and those suffering from substance abuse and mental illness. These are not minimum wage jobs. Yet, many of these workers are hovering around minimum wage, with an average salary of just over $30,000 per year.

One job should be enough. By investing in the very people that care for the most vulnerable among us, we raise our Commonwealth’s quality of care to a higher standard.

We are grateful to Auditor Bump for this in-depth report, and we look forward to working alongside the legislature to ensure future Chapter 257 investments lift the wages of direct care human service workers.”

-Peter MacKinnon, President, SEIU Local 509

SEIU Local 509 is the union for human service workers, including thousands of the frontline, direct care workers at provider organizations that received funding increases after Chapter 257 was enacted. For more information about private sector direct care working conditions in the state, contact Megan Piccirillo at (973) 668-8999.

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