petitionJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Home care workers in Missouri have launched a petition demanding higher pay.

The group of employees completes duties from feeding, to bathing, to dressing their patients to allow them to remain at home. While workers continue to show compassion for their patients, they claimed they have a hard time making it on their own.

Missouri currently pays vendors in the consumer-directed services program more than $15 per hour of service, but home care workers make less than half of that.

Julia May, a 15 year veteran in the home care field, said she loves her job, but she is unsure how much longer she can keep it.

“I can’t afford to get myself health insurance,” May said. “I can’t afford car insurance. I can barely afford to buy groceries and cleaning supplies for my home.”

Missouri has nearly 9,000 home care workers throughout the state. The Missouri Home Care Union is demanding through the statewide petition, at least 85 percent of the fees vendors receive from the state.

May, after 15 years of service, still makes less than $9 per hour. She said home care workers in Missouri are not making nearly what they should.

“What I know is, we do 85 percent of the work every day, and we have not received anything near 85 percent of the taxpayers’ dollars the companies get for home care,” said May.

A contract allowing consumers to determine the pay for home care workers was presented to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon in January. In order for the current issue to make it on the November 2016 ballot, it must garner 100,000 signatures by May.