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5-day hunger strike successfully ends 24-hour home health aide shifts

A hunger strike outside City Hall in New York ended after five days, with the goal of pressuring the city to stop 24-hour shifts for healthcare aides. The 20 women who participated in the hunger strike were greeted with flowers and applause when it ended. Lai Yee Chan, a 69-year-old home health aide, expressed feeling both exhausted and energized after fighting against the long shifts.

Chan, who has been working as a home health aide for 22 years, spoke through a translator about how the 24-hour shifts took away her freedom. She mentioned that she was doing it not just for herself, but for the next generation of home care workers. The push to ban these 24-hour shifts is being supported by a bill in the City Council introduced by Councilman Christopher Marte.

Marte shared a personal story about his mother working 24-hour shifts as a home attendant, highlighting the greed of insurance companies and home care agencies. Some opponents of the bill argue that this issue should be addressed at the state level. Despite concerns about health care costs and service gaps, organizers have expressed that the fight is not over and plan to continue with more protests in the future.

The demand for more healthcare aides is increasing, while the workforce population decreases. Marte emphasized the importance of not having anyone work for 24-hour shifts. The hunger strikers have mentioned that they will take some time to rest, recharge, and then return to continue their fight.

By Samantha Jones

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