Detroit home care worker plans to push $15 wage to Dems

Maureen Feighan The Detroit News

A Detroit home care worker juggling two jobs to make ends meet will speak at the Democratic National Convention this week to make her case for a higher minimum wage.

Henrietta Ivey, 50, is scheduled to speak Thursday at the convention in Philadelphia after meeting presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at a union convention in June. Thursday’s theme is “Stronger Together.”

Meeting Clinton “right off the rip you could see that she was genuine and honest and passionate,” Ivey said.

Ivey, who grew up in Detroit and supports her two children and three grandchildren, works as an on-call home health care worker, mostly with seniors, and makes Michigan’s minimum wage, $8.50 an hour. She also works as a driver for an auto parts supplier 25-30 hours a week.

Home health care is “rewarding, compassionate work but financially it’s not stable,” said Ivey, who got into home health care 11 years ago after becoming a caregiver for her ailing grandmother. “...I almost lost my house a few months ago.”

That’s why Ivey is part of a movement pushed by several labor groups, the Fight for $15, pushing to bump the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The federal rate is $7.15 an hour.

Rushing from one job to the other “is constant work,” Ivey said. “It’s hard. (But) it shouldn’t be. This is one of the richest countries in the world. I think the $15 an hour should be a no-brainer. It’ll help us have a livable lifestyle.”

Mitchell Rivard, a spokesman for the Hillary Clinton campaign in Michigan, describes Ivey as a “passionate advocate for raising wages of working people.”

“In June, she had the opportunity to share her story with Hillary Clinton, who has made it a central priority to make sure our economy works for all Americans, not just those at the top,” Rivard said in an email.

Republican nominee Donald Trump opposed raising the federal minimum wage throughout the primary season, saying it can’t be raised if the United States is to compete with the rest of the world. But in May he told CNN he may be open to raising it.

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