Thousands of Personal Assistants in Illinois voted to ratify a new 3-year agreement with 99% voting ‘yes’ last week!
Together PAs achieved a new contract that:
-Raises wages to $13/hour, a 12.5% increase over 3 years;
-Protects the health insurance fund and expands access to new PAs;
-Protects funding for the training program and includes funding to start an orientation program for newly hired PAs;
-Strengthens language around job security and Union rights to ensure we have a powerful voice to continue to move home care forward.
Settling this contract was no easy feat, it took months of mounting pressure from thousands of PAs and consumers who were determined to stand up for living wages and quality home care. It also took a strong and determined bargaining committee that fought back against Governor Quinn’s wage freeze proposal both at the table and back in their communities.
“We beat back the wage freeze that the State proposed and won raises that will get us up to $13/hour in 2014. We’ve come a long way since we started organizing and PAs were making $1/hour,” said Flora Johnson, a PA from Chicago and member of the bargaining committee.
Many PAs owned a piece of this victory with 12,000 logging personal phone calls to Governor Quinn, thousands getting on buses and traveling to Springfield, and dozens more who took part in delegations directly to Governor Quinn’s offices carrying our message for living wages and quality home care services for people with disabilities.
“The action that PAs took throughout this campaign is what made the difference,” explained Carol Buckley from Decatur, another PA who served on the bargaining committee. “Our committee was at the table sharing our stories and pushing back on unacceptable proposals, while thousands around the State were either making calls or stopping by for in person visits with the Governor’s staff carrying the same message. When we’re united nothing can stop us.”
With the contract fight behind us, 2013 holds new challenges. The Home Services Program is underfunded by $40 million and lawmakers need to pass additional funding so thousands of people with disabilities across our state don’t lose their independence and workers don’t lose hours and jobs. Our struggle unites us with workers across Illinois fighting for living wages and a just economy where everyone pays their fair share. Building off the momentum of our contract victory, we can push for an end to income inequality for all workers.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mike Truppa, Mike.Truppa@seiuhcil.org
Scott Vogel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Providing a Path for Undocumented Residents to Obtain Driver’s Licenses and Purchase Car Insurance Will Dramatically Improve Highway Safety. Advocates Call on Illinois State Representatives to Immediately Pass Highway Safety Bill
(December 4, 2012, CHICAGO) – Today the state senate passed important highway safety legislation that would permit all Illinois motorists, including undocumented residents, to obtain driver’s licenses and purchase car insurance. SEIU Healthcare Illinois, along with the statewide “Highway Safety Coalition,” called on the House of Representatives to immediately take up and pass this historic highway safety bill.
According to the Highway Safety Coalition, Illinois law requires anyone applying for a driver’s license to provide a Social Security number (SSN). This law prevents 250,000 Illinois immigrant motorists who cannot get SSNs from getting licenses— even though they need to drive to support their families. These unlicensed, uninsured drivers are involved in 79,600 accidents each year, costing $660 million in damage claims. Nationwide, unlicensed motorists are five times likelier to be involved in a fatal crash than licensed drivers.
In response to the state senate’s vote, Keith Kelleher, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, issued the following statement:
“We applaud the state senate for passing important legislation today that will improve Illinois’ highway safety. By providing a path for all motorists to obtain driver’s licenses and to buy car insurance, our elected officials rightfully put politics aside and focused on pragmatic solutions that will save lives. This is the right time to finally enact this vital legislation and the House should not delay in passing it.
“With today’s vote, the senate took a dramatic step towards treating all Illinois residents with decency and respect. This historic bill begins a bipartisan approach to reforming our immigration issue by bringing undocumented residents from out of the shadows and fully incorporating immigrant families into our communities.
“If there is one clear conclusion based on this year’s election, it is that our country, and our state, must enact sensible solutions that protect immigrant families and stop the endless attacks and blaming of undocumented workers. It’s time for the divisive and cynical politics around the immigration issue to stop and for Illinois, and our country, to enact reasonable immigration reform. Enacting this crucial highway safety bill is a good start.”
SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana unites more than 92,000 healthcare, home care, nursing home and child care workers across two states in the fight to raise standards across industries, to strengthen the political voice for working families and for access to quality, affordable care for all families.
On November 30, child care and Head Start workers at the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago voted overwhelmingly to join together in SEIU! This victory brings 170 new members from 13 YMCA child centers into the Child Care and Early Learning Division of SEIU HCII.
“We’re excited to get working on a strong first contract, and uniting with other SEIU child care workers to make sure there’s a child care voice at the table when big decisions about the future of Head Start are made,” said Assistant Teacher Luvonne Howery at the North Lawndale location.