Caregivers Strike to Protest Proposed Cuts

More than 200-caregivers and staff from Seven Hills Rhode Island went on strike on Friday.

Usually they spend their days working with people who have developmental disabilities, but their one day strike was meant to send a message, about proposed cuts to their pay and benefits.

The striking workers say that they haven't seen a pay raise in over-5-years and they believe that a 5-percent cut in pay, could force many quality workers to leave the job and people that they love behind.

“We're not just fighting for the ourselves, we're fighting for them, we're fighting for the people with disabilities that's who we're fighting for.” said striker Melanie Carroll.

For the last 23-years, striker Joan Marois has worked closely with folks who need help to just do the most basic of things. And she's seen her workload increase, even as her pay stays stagnate.

“The more people they take away, the more money they take away, the harder we have to work to do the jobs that we need and want to do, for the people we support.” said Marois.

Paul Tardif isn't a caregiver, he's a parent, and his 43-year old son is one of the dozens of people, who rely on Seven Hills caregivers, constant support.

Tardif believes that their opposition to the proposed cuts is justified, based on the amount of work that they do, to help people like his son, to live a fulfilling life.

“They're unbelievable people doing an unbelievable job. It's not for everybody, the incentive isn't to come in and make a lot of money. The incentive is to come in and do the best that you can for the folks they help, and that's what they do.” said Tardif.

Seven Hills Rhode Island released a statement in response to Friday's strike, saying that the proposed cuts are simply the result of a trickle-down effect, that started when the state cut-out over 24-million dollars, from programs that help support people with developmental disabilities.