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Direct care workers get a boost in Cuomo’s budget talks

A budget deal won’t be signed off on by Gov. Andrew Cuomo without a raise for the direct care workers who work with people who have developmental disabilities, his top legal advisor told a rally of advocates on Monday at the Capitol.

“We will not pass a budget without increasing wages for direct care workers,” said Cuomo administration counsel Alphonso David.

David called the workers “unsung” heroes who are in need of a pay boost as a result of the phased-in minimum wage hikes.

The statement is a boost for the direct care workers and their advocacy day, which brought more than 1,000 people to the Capitol as part of a push for the living wage funding included in the final budget.

The rally also included both Democratic and Republican state lawmakers.

No details were given on what the living wage agreement might look like in the budget. But the direct care workers have sought a raise as non-profits have struggled to retain workers in a difficult field when other jobs in retail and restaurants can offer higher pay.

The vast majority of funding for non-profit organizations that work with those who have developmental disabilities comes from government sources. Many of the workers in the direct care field are women and Latino.

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