"300 Days to Better Pay" rally in Buffalo

Posted at 10:33 AM, Nov 29, 2016

More than 200 people were expected to attend a rally at the Buffalo Science Museum calling on New York State to increase pay for direct care workers who deal with developmental disabilities.

Direct care workers are those individuals who provide help with daily tasks such a feeding, dressing and transportation.

Most direct care workers make only minimum wage and that is resulting in less-qualified individuals applying for the demanding jobs.  It is also causing high turnover in the profession as people take higher paying and less demanding jobs - some in the fast food industry, now that New York State has raised the minimum wage for fast food workers.

Agencies that hire direct care workers say lack of increased funding by New York State is forcing them to keep wages low.  Many agencies are non-profit and receive 80 to 90% of their operating revenue from government sources.

Advocates for the developmentally disabled want to see $45 million dollars allocated in the upcoming NYS budget.  However, some believe since it has been eight years from the last increase, any additional money could help the situation.

As part to the "300 Days to Better Pay" campaign, organizers will be undertaking a massive mailing to Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for increased funding for direct support professionals.

7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.