Meet One Of The First Home Care Workers In The Country To Win A $15 Minimum Wage – BY BRYCE COVERT POSTED ON JUNE 29, 2015 AT 4:03 PM


CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Kindalay Cummings-Akers has been working as a personal care attendant, caring for the elderly and disabled in their homes, for nearly a decade. But she will soon be making $15 an hour for the first time ever after she and her union, 1199SEIU, reached an agreement with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) at the end of last week.

“I’m so excited, I am,” she told ThinkProgress with joy filling her voice. “I’m happy that we have opened the door. It’s a big thing.”

Home care workers have long been poorly paid, thanks in part to the fact that they are excluded from federal minimum wage and overtime requirements. They make just $9.61 on average, while a quarter live in poverty and three in five rely on public benefits.

Cummings-Akers’s wages and those of her fellow attendants had stayed stuck at $10.84 an hour for years before a contract last year brought them up to $13.38. But after she and other home care workers joined up with the Fight for $15 movement, those in her union have become the first home care workers in the country to win such a wage level.

Despite the low pay, home care aides do tough work. For her client and his wife, who has dementia, Cummings-Akers gives them showers, lifts them and their wheelchairs, gives them medication, makes them meals, takes them to doctor’s appointments and talks with the doctors, does the grocery shopping, cleans their clothes, and even helps care for their cat. “It’s a lot of work, it truly is a lot of work,” she said. “When you do work like this, you have to be a very strong person.”

 

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http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2015/06/29/3675374/home-health-aide-15-wage/

The Shrinks Who Only See CIA Officers – Shane Harris 04.04.15


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Some U.S. intelligence analysts spend days scouring ISIS beheading videos and jihadists’ porn. When it gets to be too much, there’s a cadre of therapists on call.

Given the choice, most of us would probably turn away in revulsion from the beheading videos and other images of depravity that are the propaganda hallmarks of ISIS and its terrorist brethren.But for some, watching this graphic material is all in a day’s work. Imagery analysts and terrorism experts at U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the NSA, and the National Counterterrorism Center, sit in banal warrens of cubicles or in closed rooms in top-secret facilities scrutinizing the details of a nightmarish gallery of prisoner beheadings, attacks on U.S. military forces, and sexual abuse of children. It’s their job to find clues in the material that might indicate how an attack was carried out, when another might be coming, and where terrorists are holding their hostages.

The work can take an extraordinary toll on the analyst’s’ emotional state, Five current and former intelligence officers told The Daily Beast. And so the CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies employ a cadre of psychiatrists and therapists to help analysts cope with the onslaught of often horrific, sometimes pornographic images they’re seeing.

“They’re being exposed to material that, day in and day out, we’re not exposed to broadly in America,” a senior physician with the CIA’s Office of Medical Services said in an interview. “That has its own sort of impact and own sort of, for lack of a better term, shock value.”

Article continues:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/04/04/the-shrinks-who-only-see-cia-officers.html

How Financial Companies Get Around The Law That Protects Military Families by Alan Pyke Posted on December 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm Updated: December 30, 2014 at 2:37 pm


Veteran

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Predatory lenders are exploiting America’s armed forces families despite a nearly decade-old law that’s supposed to protect servicemembers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said this week, and the Pentagon should quickly finalize and implement a new slate of rules for lenders who do business with military families.

Holly Petraeus, the CFPB’s top official for armed services issues, sent the Department of Defense a letter just after Christmas recommending that the agency put the new rules into effect swiftly. On Monday, the agency backed up that letter with a report detailing exactly how and how often servicemembers fall prey to lending abuses that seem like they should be covered under the 2006 Military Lending Act (MLA).

The report found that military families are significantly more likely to use one or another form of deposit advance services than the overall American population. While fewer than 16 percent of the country as a whole uses such loans, according to previous CFPB research, more than 22 percent of military families take advantage of those loans. At an estimated $50 million in annual borrowing, those families are paying a combined $5 million a year in fees, according to Monday’s report.

Article continues:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/12/30/3607273/military-families-predatory-lending/