Filipino Home Care Workers: Invisibilized Frontline Workers in the COVID-19 Crisis in the United States

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Speaker: Katherine Nasol, PhD Student, Cultural Studies Graduate Group, UC Davis


Katherine Nasol is a PhD Student in the University of California, Davis Cultural Studies Graduate Group where she studies racial capitalism, migration, and policy. Her work includes policy reports on human rights issues in South Africa and Hong Kong, and community-centered research with trafficked migrant workers & displaced communities. She is a founding member and Policy Director of the Bulosan Center for Filipinx Studies and is a UC Davis Mellon Public Scholar.


Filipino home care workers are at the frontlines of assisted living facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), yet their work has largely been unseen. We attribute this invisibility to the existing elder care crisis in the United States, further exacerbated by COVID-19. Based on quantitative and qualitative data with Filipino workers before and during the COVID-19 crisis, we find that RCFEs have failed to comply with labor standards long before the pandemic where the lack of state regulation denied health and safety protections for home care workers. The racial inequities under COVID-19 via the neoliberal approach to the crisis puts home care workers at more risk. We come to this analysis through Critical Immigration Studies framing Filipino labor migration as it is produced by neoliberalism and racial capitalist constructs. Lastly, while the experiences of Filipino home care workers during the pandemic expose the elder care industry’s exploitation, we find that they are also creating strategies to take care of one another.

Download the recording of the Zoom presentation here

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