National advocacy group PHI announced the launch of the Direct Care Worker Equity Institute Tuesday to address issues of racism and gender injustice in long-term care.

According to data provided by PHI, 87% of direct care workers in long-term care are women, 61% are people of color, 27% are immigrants and 44% live in or near poverty. 

“For too long, direct care workers have faced a range of systemic inequities that harm their quality of life and devalue the direct care job,” PHI President Jodi M. Sturgeon said in a statement.

The new institute, PHI said, will: 

  • Maintain a centralized online hub of resources and publications;
  • Produce original studies and policy resources;
  • Develop equity-specific advocacy tools to help state and federal leaders;
  • Design and inform workforce interventions to reduce disparities and promote equity;
  • Convene direct care workforce experts — including workers themselves — to craft equity-based policy and practice solutions; and
  • Collaborate with leading organizations representing people of color, women, immigrants and LGBT communities, among others.

White House task force

In other workplace news, the White House on Monday released a 43-page report outlining several dozen steps it intends to take to promote union membership and collective bargaining among both public and private sector employees.

The report, from the Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment headed by Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh, details almost 70 proposals meant to make it easier for employees to unionize, which they say will boost racial and gender equality in the workplace.

According to the task force report, union households earn up to 20% more than non-union households, and the difference is more significant for workers with less formal education and workers of color. 

“Black and Latino workers who are union members, both men and women, benefit from substantially higher median weekly earnings than similarly situated non-union workers,” the report states. “Workers of color, women, older workers and worker with disabilities also typically benefit from anti-discrimination and anti-harassment protections that unions ordinarily include in their collective bargaining agreements.”