AFSCME members and supporters demonstrate outside of Paraquad, calling for higher wages for home health workers. The Missouri Home Care Union is affiliated with AFSCME.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the Missouri Home Care Union are asking providers of in-home services for the elderly and disabled to raise the wages of the attendants they employ. A few union members and about a hundred supporters demonstrated outside of Paraquad in St. Louis Friday to ask the nonprofit to honor a deal struck by the union and the state’s Quality Home Care Council.  

One union member, Elinor Simmons, has worked as a home health care attendant for about 30 years. She said she makes $8.50 an hour, but when she asked her employer for a raise, she was denied.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

Union membership in Missouri has dropped to its lowest rate in 26 years, according to new numbers released earlier this week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


(UPI/Bill Greenblatt)

If Governor Pat Quinn's agreement with AFSCME, Illinois' largest public employee union, goes through, new employees will be treated differently than those already on the payroll. 

Union members get pay boosts the longer they work for the state. Quinn's Chief of Staff Jack Lavin, says it will take longer for new hires to reach those step increases, and he says they'll start off making less too. 

"To achieve the top of that job classification it was previously eight years, now it’ll be 11 years," said Lavin. "So new employees will start at a lower wage.”