Letter: Care workers see pay cut twice

February 10, 2014 

Thank you for covering the rally in Olympia Jan. 27th highlighting the need to restore wage cuts for supported living workers. I serve a local nonprofit agency, Tri-Cities Residential Services, whose mission is to provide support for developmentally disabled persons to live, work and play in our community.

Our staff members are among more than 13,000 skilled professionals committed to serving the needs of developmentally disabled people in Washington. Their work is crucial in helping developmentally disabled persons live successfully. These professionals provide support with health, work, hygiene, transportation, medical appointments and more.

They develop and maintain a consistent, trusting relationship with the persons they serve. Their pay is determined by the Legislature, which cut their wages in 2009 and again in 2011, yet manages to pay workers in state-run facilities 30 percent higher wages. Low pay increasingly results in high staff turnover rates, which destabilize support for residents with developmental disabilities.

These workers deserve a fair wage that reverses those cuts and returns them to a standard that values the challenging work they do for residents. I hope our legislators will ensure state spending priorities continue to provide our vulnerable residents with the support they need.

DAVID COLE, West Richland

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