Hunger Strike for Health Care Aides: End of Five-Day Protest Marks a Pause in Fight for Reform

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

After five days of protesting outside City Hall in New York, a hunger strike led by 20 women ended on Monday. The strikers were met with flowers and applause as they fought for an end to the long 24-hour shifts that they felt took away their freedom. 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 spoke out against the grueling work hours.

During a rally held in support of the hunger strikers, speakers emphasized the need to unite and fight against what they believe is an exploitative system. 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 demand for health care aides is increasing as people age and seek more medical attention at home. However, there are fewer people working in this field due to various reasons such as lack of pay or poor working conditions. This highlights the importance of reforming working conditions for these essential workers who provide vital services to patients in their homes

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