For Labor Day, I will profile a group of workers who are underappreciated: long-term care workers. These posts are typically filled by certified nurse’s aids (CNAs). Despite the importance of their job, their remuneration is far from generous. In The Politics of Medicaid, Laura Katz Olson reports that CNA hourly wages were only $10.61 in 2008. This compares to wages of $12.59 for customer service representatives or $11.78 for manufacturing receptionists.
In addition, being a nursing home caregiver is a dangerous job. These workers “…experience an exceedingly high rate of on-the-job injuries, 18.2 per 100 workers, as compared to people engaged in coal mining (6.2) construction (10.6) and warehousing or trucking (13.8). In fact, nurse’s aides, attendants and orderlies have the third-highest rate of nonfatal occupation-related mishaps in the nation.“