Cathy Cranston: workers’ rights, disability rights

For about a decade, ADAPT of Texas has sought to engage direct care workers in the fight for community services. Cathy Cranston is an organizer with ADAPT of Texas and, since 2005, also an organizer of the Personal Attendant Coalition of Texas (PACT). In October 2011, as part of the oral history training offered by ADAPT and Wire Cutter, Luz Guerra and Erin Park Markert interviewed Cathy. She explained that PACT launches lobbying campaigns before each state legislative session. Even when PACT has not succeeded in the Texas Legislature, it has sometimes won what it sought later, in state agency rulemaking.

PACT, which is a project of ADAPT, serves both workers and clients by seeking “equal work for equal pay.” Cranston explains.

What we found was that there was a wage disparity within people working within different home and community-based programs… Quite often the personal attendants do the same tasks, but . . . there was even a two-dollar difference in wage between working in the community versus working within state institutions or the nursing facilities..

The rights of workers are inextricably tied to the rights of people with disabilities. State employee unions have resisted the closing of large institutions precisely because the jobs providing services to people in community settings come with very low wages and no health insurance or other benefits. PACT and ADAPT resist the cruel pressure to pit workers and clients against one another.

Read the entire interview here, and thank you, Cathy, Luz, and Erin.

Copyright 2011 Cathy Cranston, used with permission

This entry was posted in access, disability rights, history, human rights, inclusion, listen for a change (oral history, narratives), narratives, oral histories, policy, social justice, testimonies, who controls?, who decides? by Virginia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Virginia

Virginia Raymond is a lawyer, teacher, and scholar who has lived in Austin, Texas for almost thirty years. She currently practices law, teaches writing for Austin Community College, and listens to the oral histories or testimonies of disability rights activists with ADAPT of Texas. Before that, she taught cultural studies, policy studies, and Mexican American legal history for the Center for Mexican American History (CMAS) at the University of Texas at Austin and directed the Texas After Violence Project from its inception in 2007 until 2011. She is a long-time member of the National Lawyers Guild, committed to law "in the service of people..to the end that human rights be regarded as more sacred than property interests." With Tom Kolker, she is the proud parent of three young people: Joey, Rebecca, and Louis.