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The 5% Campaign

December 5, 2013

To the editor: Caregivers who provide Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) to people with disabilities and the elderly shoulder a great deal of responsibility in their jobs, taking on......

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(15)

commonman

Dec-10-13 8:18 PM

Hang on, earning $11.55 puts a family of 4 $500 above the poverty level. Is that a single mom with 3 kids, or a single income family? In those cases, of course that's near poverty. Would those figures include any child support or public assistance? All statistics can be skewed to one's perspective.

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56two58

Dec-10-13 1:55 PM

Counting the number of folks providing this service in Marshall tells me a few things. 1.) Competition has grown. 2.) The market is likely past the point of ‘maturity’ and might already be in a period of oversaturation/decline 3.) If oversaturated, it is likely that there will be some losers in the near future (consolidation, going out of business, etc.). 4.) Public funding has probably altered the true free market condition. Unless this funding continues on forever, it will likely make the peaks and valleys much more steep for the winners/losers (financially) in this business. It likely places that decision more on politics than on performance or market conditions.

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56two58

Dec-10-13 1:55 PM

In healthcare, the regulations have grown tremendously. I suspect the profit margin for the Investment group today isn’t what it was when owned by Robert Miller – just pure speculation on my part. Mr. Miller found a niche and was able to pay his employees (and himself) handsomely. Due to increased regulation, increase competition, and worldly change – that option doesn’t necessarily exist today.

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56two58

Dec-10-13 1:55 PM

DuPage – good info. As you know the economic climate has changed. Take Schwan’s for example, my understanding is that there was great growth, opportunity and income for many in that corporation as that business grew in the 70s and 80s. Ownership and employees benefited (large profit sharing back then). However, consider recently where employees were laid off and diminished profit sharing today. The ownership isn’t necessarily taking more profits, but rather times change, economic conditions change. Without properly managing Human Capital as a part of the financial equation, in tougher times business owners are left holding the bag and thus have to reduce employees or costs for providing products/services. Sure, many times ownership get solid profits too. It’s a high risk, high reward scenario.

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DuPage

Dec-09-13 7:50 PM

56, I'm not being presumptuous at all. In the early years when Robert E. Miller owned REM, wages were fair and there was a profit sharing for the employees, at times over $5,000.00 per year. After his death,the wages became less when the family took over the business, but the profit sharing remained. When the business was bought by the current owners, a group of investment bankers (corporate), wages remained low and profit sharing ceased being replaced with a very minimal 401K match. The people that make the company money, do the hardest work - providing direct care make the least amount of money. The majority of income these companies receive comes from tax payer dollars. The free market is what exists - but that doesn't make it right in my opinion. If you don't believe there is big money in providing services, just count how many assisted living units we have in Marshall. There are three major players and a few small five bed operations in town at last count.

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56two58

Dec-09-13 10:51 AM

DuPage, I think the Soviet Union has this figured out - how to stifle corporate profits for "fairness".

I would suggest it is rather presumptious of you to assume that there is large profits and that facilities owners are rolling in the dough. If that is the case, there would be loads of competition as there are very few areas in the economy where "easy money" isn't met with an intense flow of competition.

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farmkid

Dec-09-13 10:04 AM

The reason their wages and our wages are what they are is because there are people willing to do the job for that pay.

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DuPage

Dec-07-13 11:08 AM

$40,000.00 per year per individual to provide services in one of these facilities would be a bargain. Rates are determined on a per day basis. In some cases, the cost would be over twice that. The problem is there is "big money" in providing services. The corporations that own these facilities are making their profits off the backs and hard work of the individuals making less than a livable wage. The care of most of the individuals residing in these facilities is paid by medicaid and SSI. There needs to be rules that determine how much profit a corporation can make and the level of wages paid to workers. Presently,a 5% increase in funding would probably net these employees only a 2% increase in wages and increase corporate profits.

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farmkid

Dec-06-13 11:17 PM

It's all so clear now. As I'm not a careworker, I won't ask for a percentage of increase. Instead, I will ask that my taxes be lowered. It's good for everyone because with my extra income, I will go out and buy more. This will result in additional income for retailers whom I'm sure will pay their employees more, after paying their additional income tax to the government. Did you catch any sarcasm there?

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56two58

Dec-06-13 3:47 PM

Free market doesn't set "fair" wages, it sets market wages. If there is an economic opportunity, the market will develop. Fairness is a facility. In this case, I am pretty sure that all persons involved - ownership, employee, the person paying for the long term care, and the person receiving the long term care - all feel that they aren't getting their "fair" share.

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hartman75

Dec-06-13 12:04 PM

If we could rely on the free market to set a "fair" wage then a mandated minimum wage would not be necessary.

The cost of residing in an assisted living facility is upwards of forty thousand dollars per year at a minimum. Based on existing wages, a 5% increase would be far less costly AND result in much better outcomes for the disabled and elderly. How much is too much to pay someone who provides an invaluable service - enough to support a family? If the free market advanced fairness and equality, individuals who can throw a baseball over 90 mph would not be paid well over $3500.00 per hour while those who enrich and elevate the quality of life for others only $9.00 per hour. Where we spend our money say's a lot about our priorities.

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56two58

Dec-06-13 9:41 AM

In a free market, you will accept a job if the pay is okay and will seek another if not. Obviously you prefer to be paid more, but it's not that bad that you need to quit and go elsewhere and can easily find another high paying job. Free markets aren't "fair" to everyone. Ask those paying for this care if they feel the prices they are paying are fair? If the wage doesn't suit your needs, go elsewhere. If all employees do that - your employer will be forced to pay more. If not, perhaps you were getting a "fair" wage from the market.

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farmkid

Dec-05-13 4:36 PM

You're right, it's not a competition. The only difference between the letter writers and the rest of us, is that we have no one to write to in order to gather support. We take what we get, and live with it. Funny how increased spending can be a good thing (and you can give all kinds of rationale) if it benefits you.

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bystander

Dec-05-13 11:34 AM

It's not a competition to see who can make more. It's about fairly compensating people for the work that they do. In this case, I don't think 5% is enough. Careworkers do a lot for families and save them and the public a lot of money by keeping disabled persons out of nursing homes and other care facilities. The amount of stress(mental and physical) is very high. Turnover rates are also high--who wants to keep a job that while rewarding takes such a toll on you physically, emotionally,and mentally. Proper compensation would make up for that in many ways. Remember, too,that a person with a second job is more likely to be tired and distracted--is that something you'd want with someone who is charged with handling very intimate care of your loved ones?

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farmkid

Dec-05-13 7:02 AM

Keep in mind, the 5 percent increase in funding that is being requested is not a raise. The 5 percent increase is merely an attempt to bring funding closer to the level where it should be so that the most vulnerable among us can continue to receive quality services by staff who are paid a livable wage.

I hope none of you who wrote this letter are complaining about how high your taxes are. By the way, you're FAR from the only ones who work a second job to make ends meet.

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