August 11, 2009
Evelyn Coke, the New York home care attendant responsible for a 2007 US Supreme Court case challenging the exclusion of home care workers from minimum wage and overtime protections, has died at age 74, according to an article in the New York Times.
The Times writes:
Year in and year out, Evelyn Coke left her Queens house early to go to the homes of elderly, sick, often dying people. She bathed them, cooked for them, helped them dress and monitored their medications. She sometimes worked three consecutive 24-hour shifts.
She loved the work, but she earned only around $7 an hour and got no overtime pay. For years Ms. Coke, a single mother of five, quietly grumbled, and then, quite uncharacteristically, rebelled.
Although Ms. Coke ultimately lost her legal case, her story has continued to generate political waves. And now, even though she is gone, says the Times, her story "remains alive as both Congress and the Obama administration review regulations that carry out amendments to a 1938 law on wages."
Coincidentally, a New York Times editorial calling on US Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis to reverse the home care worker exemption ran on July 9, the same day that Evelyn Coke passed away.