Care workers for New York residents with disabilities rally in Stony Point for higher pay

They gathered in Stony Point, near Kirkbride Hall, to demand New York state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul provide more money in next year’s budget for the workers who support people with disabilities.

Diane Caruso

Mar 8, 2024, 5:33 PM

Updated 42 days ago

Share:

Hundreds gathered in Rockland County Friday morning demanding New York state provide more money in next year’s budget for those who work with people with disabilities.
They gathered in Stony Point, near Kirkbride Hall, to demand New York state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul provide more money in next year’s budget for the workers who support people with disabilities.
The event was called the “Rally in the Valley” and it was led by Jawonio, a Rockland-based nonprofit that serves those with special needs.
That organization was joined by other local agencies, even some from other parts of the Empire State.
They all want a 3.2% cost of living adjustment, also known as COLA, as well as a $4,000 wage enhancement for employees.
Next year’s proposed state budget currently has a 1.5% COLA.
Jawonio says the money will fill in job vacancies and the state has not kept up with inflation over the years.
"We must get the funding needed to attract and retain staff that provide life sustaining services to the people they support,” said Randi Rios-Castro, CEO of Jawonio.
It was a jampacked, hour-long event that featured more than a dozen speakers.
“Fight for what we deserve," said Marcia Campbell, a former DSP now a coordinator with Jawonio. “There are people who go home from work who cannot make their bills as a DSP. They go home, they get an eviction notice. Lights are being shut off.”
Everyone met at the former Letchworth village as a reminder of how those with disabilities were treated at the institution before it closed in the 90’s.
Those in attendance say it’s a reminder to not repeat history.
A state budget office spokesperson tells us “Governor Hochul deeply cares about rebuilding the workforce who directly assist our most vulnerable New Yorkers, as evidenced by our historic investments made in recent years. With the inclusion of a 1.5% COLA in the FY25 Executive Budget, more than $1.4 billion in COLA increases will have occurred over the past 3 years. As we look to solve a $4.3 billion budget gap, the Governor looks forward to working with the Legislature on a budget that serves the needs of all New Yorkers.”
News 12 learned there was an 4% COLA increase last year and a 5.4% increase the year before that.


More from News 12