Contrary to what the caregiving industry states about having to pay minimum wage or raise their prices, the fact is that there are caregiver cooperatives in Washington state — in Bellingham, Port Townsend and, soon, Olympia — paying a living wage to their worker-owners at a competitive price.
Low caregiver wages from franchisors are subsidized by taxpayers, who pay for the food stamps, utilities and other public assistance that many low-wage workers rely on to get by.
The cooperative business model is an elegant solution to achieving higher wages and a better livelihood for caregivers, and superior care for clients. The impact on quality of care is substantial:
▪ Greatly reduced turnover (industry average is 67 percent, ranging up to 125 percent) leads to more consistent care;
▪ Greater emphasis on teamwork in client care;
▪ An increase in average wages above poverty levels, plus bonuses based on coop profitability, reduce missed work due to financial stresses;
▪ More skill training and professional development; and
▪ More efficient administration, operations and marketing due to worker-ownership.
Caregiver cooperatives are the wave of the future ... now.