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Collection Occupational Folklife Project

Taking Care: Documenting the Occupational Culture of Home Health Care Workers

In 2014, Professor Bob Bussel and his colleagues at the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center in Eugene, Oregon, received an Archie Green Fellowship to conduct oral history interviews with workers who provide home-based care for the elderly and the disabled in the state of Oregon. Bussel and his team worked closely with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 503, to record 35 interviews with home health care workers, an occupation that was not previously represented in the AFC archive.

The collection’s interviews with home health care workers took place primarily in the workers’ homes and at the offices of SEIU, Local 503 in Eugene, Portland, and Salem, Oregon as well at as the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union office in Grants Pass, Oregon. Interviews were conducted primarily in English, although a few were conducted in Russian. Interviewees ranged from long-time home health care workers to individuals who had more recently joined the profession. Many interviews also touched on the role of their union, SEIU, in training individual workers, establishing professional standards, and enforcing equitable pay and benefits.

Go to Taking Care: Documenting the Occupational Culture of Home Care Workers collection items