Dolores Huerta has been a lifelong social activist and labor leader, and at 89-years-old she’s still bringing awareness to the rights of workers by any means necessary. On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of county caregivers and the Service Employees International Union protested at the Fresno County Hall of Records and demanded a pay increase. They haven’t been given a raise in over a decade and currently make $12 an hour which is minimum wage. Huerta was among eight people to get arrested at yesterday’s protest.
“The reason I decided to get arrested because I am angry that the way the home care providers are treated,” Huerta said, according to ABC30 News. “They have gone over a decade without having a wage increase.”
The Fresno Bee reports that “six protesters were given citations for misdemeanor failing to disperse and released,” while “two others were booked into jail for misdemeanor blocking a doorway.” All were expected to be released a couple of hours later.
It’s pretty remarkable, but not surprising that at 89, Huerta still has the conviction and stamina to fight for pay equality and workers rights. The labor leader who co-founded the National Farmworkers Association with Cesar Chavez in the 1960s and created the rallying cry, “Si, Se Puede,” has been jailed nearly two dozen times for union demonstrating.
The Fresno Bee reports that more than 17,000 people in Fresno County have caregivers who come to their home to provide assistance and support. The protesters gathered yesterday because county officials were in the middle of negotiating their budget for September. As of now, they have only offered home caregivers a ten-cent raise.
“We had to do something drastic and something different and let them know we mean business,” Holly Hickenbottom, one of the protesters said to ABC30 News. “I think they think home care providers just sit around and watch soap operas and hang out and just babysit but that’s just not my case. I work hard.”
We have a strong feeling that these Fresno homecare workers will be getting their raise, especially if Huerta continues to have their back. “We’re not going to stop until home care workers get the wage increase and health benefits they deserve,” Huerta said.
We applaud her activism, her voice, and her spirit — it’s definitely inspiring.