Every step of this budget process was stacked against our campaign, and against anyone who isn’t a major donor to Governor Hochul. It’s been increasingly clear that the governor believes only a very small slice of the pie belongs to the people, and that we should all be forced to scramble and fight over that tiny slice.

Because of our organizing and our refusal to accept those terms, and with the dogged support of our #FairPay4HomeCare legislative champions, we fought off the worst of Hochul’s plans. The governor tried to cut all the wage increases we won last year, but we were able to hold the line on a small raise — a couple of dollars — for home care workers over the next few years.

Our Caring Majority campaign’s secret sauce built a statewide movement for Fair Pay for Home Care. We take on ageism, ableism, racism, and sexism all at once. We bring older adults and disabled people together along with family caregivers and workers. Hochul refuses to see it, but everyone in the state legislature and the halls of Albany knows us. We continue to "light up" Albany. That light won't go out. We won't back down.

Photo of a protest inside the Hall of Governors. People are holding fair pay for home care signs
Photo of two older women dressed in red, holding signs that say ''hold the line'' and ''insurance companies are destroying New York's home care industry''
Photo of a group of people, half of them in wheelchairs, holding fair pay for home care signs
Photo of a group of people. half in wheelchairs, holding fair pay for home care signs

When JFREJ and our partners in the Caring Majority launched this campaign in 2020, home care workers were making $11.80 in many parts of the state. Because of our organizing, they will now make $18.55 and rising. We have made progress and we are changing the story of home care — and those are testaments to the power we are building. But it is still not enough. New Yorkers will continue to struggle under the impact of an economy and society that deems disabled people, older adults, home care workers, and family caregivers disposable.

This budget session showed Governor Hochul for exactly who she is, how she operates, and what she stands for. But it did the same for us and our movements. She tried to divide us time and again, tried to get us to stop showing up for each other, to throw each other’s campaigns under the bus to win tiny concessions for our own. We resisted at every turn, strengthening our relationships and digging into the intersections of our issues.

We occupied the Capitol and got arrested alongside fellow New Yorkers calling on the governor to tax the rich. We showed up in full force to chant “communities, not cages, no nursing homes, no jails!” and demand “affordable, accessible, integrated housing!” at countless protests to protect bail reform and housing justice for all. We were side-by-side, arm-in-arm every step of the way.

Photo of a sit-in at the State Capitol, with State Legislators sitting at the front, and JFREJ and Caring Majority members behind them.

Last but not least, a huge mazel tov to our partners who organized to secure: public renewables, public financing of elections, gas-free buildings, a free bus pilot, increased subway service, funding for foundation aid, school meals, and protecting health data from law enforcement. These are huge victories that will materially improve New Yorkers’ lives, and that deserves to be celebrated!

We will not stop fighting for everything we deserve and more.