Published: June 24, 2021

Whatever we call it—essential worker pay, hero pay, hazard pay, pandemic pay—we know that essential workers in our union deserve to be respected, protected and paid for the additional risks that come with working through a pandemic. This week we learned that the State Legislature will not pass the essential worker pay proposal. This news means that essential workers across Oregon will not get the recognition they deserve for working through a pandemic. At least not right away. 

For union members, however, there is another way forward: contract negotiations. 

Your member-elected bargaining team will be negotiating with the State over the next few months, and their top priorities include hazard pay and cost of living raises. The Legislature will finalize the budget for the homecare and personal support programs over the next few days, so now is the time to put pressure on the State to give us the compensation we deserve! 

You can help us win these proposals by calling Governor Kate Brown and asking her to tell DHS to have our backs.

Governor Brown (503) 378-4582.


Hello. My name is [Your name]. I am a homecare/personal support worker and a member of SEIU 503. I’m calling to ask that you support hazard pay and cost of living raises for homecare workers. Oregon’s care providers masked up, did our jobs, and supported our seniors and people with disabilities through a pandemic, wildfires and other crises of 2020. We did little more than pay lip service to the risks we took to do our essential jobs. Now we have an opportunity to make that right at the bargaining table. Please support our union as we fight for hazard pay and a cost of living adjustment. 

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