MADISON, Wis.—Led by Family Friendly Wisconsin, organizations representing thousands across the Badger State have sent an open letter to the Wisconsin Congressional delegation, urging members to pass President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, including much needed investments in our care infrastructure.
“Working families in Wisconsin are just beginning to recover from a pandemic that has exacerbated the inequalities of our care infrastructure,” said Brita Olsen, state director of Family Friendly Wisconsin. “We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the lives of care workers and families, and we cannot wait any longer for the investments these proposals would provide.”
The specific provisions mentioned in the letter include a national paid family and medical leave program, investments in more accessible, affordable childcare, and home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities.
The impact of these proposals in Wisconsin alone is significant. Guaranteeing working families have access to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave per year would generate an estimated $873.6 million in additional income annually for working people in Wisconsin. Additionally, 265,150 new jobs would be created with an investment in more affordable and accessible care for children, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Across Wisconsin, care workers and working families would be uplifted and empowered, boosting their own economic prospects, as well as our state’s economy.
The organizations that signed onto the letter include 9to5 Wisconsin, BLOC, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Family Friendly Wisconsin, For Our Future WI, Main Street Alliance Action Fund, Opportunity Wisconsin, Our Wisconsin Revolution, UFCW, Local 1473 and the Wisconsin Working Families Party.
The full text of the letter is below:
October 08, 2021
To: Members of Wisconsin’s Congressional delegation,
On behalf of organizations representing thousands of people across Wisconsin, we write urging you to support the passage of President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, including the proposals to transform our care infrastructure by creating a national paid family and medical leave program and investing in more accessible, affordable childcare and home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities.
The COVID pandemic has laid bare a crisis brewing for decades. By failing to invest in building and maintaining a robust care infrastructure, we have forced families in Wisconsin to make impossible choices between caring for their loved ones and paying the bills. Most working families do not have access to paid family and medical leave and affordable care options for the young, elderly and people with disabilities. And, the people in our communities who perform this vital care work are often underpaid and undervalued.
You have an opportunity to change this by supporting President Biden’s Build Back Better plan. In Wisconsin alone, the full care investments that President Biden proposed would:
Create 265,150 new jobs by investing in more affordable and accessible care for children, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Raise wages for people who work in the care sector. In Wisconsin, these workers who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic are paid an average of just $11.80 an hour. Raising their wages will boost their economic prospects and our state’s economy.
Generate an estimated $873.6 million in additional income for Wisconsin families each year by ensuring all working people have access to up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave per year.
Right now, we have a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our nation’s care infrastructure, permanently transforming the lives of families and care workers. Families in Wisconsin are just starting to recover from the pandemic, and many continue to deal with the challenges of closed schools and childcare centers. And, the care workers who saw their jobs upended by the pandemic have earned the higher wages and improved benefits that would come with this plan.
We urge you to support the inclusion of care policies in the final Build Back Better plan at the full funding levels proposed by President Biden. Families and workers cannot wait for the relief that these investments would provide.