CHICAGO—Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas, issued the following statement on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela, an international icon of the human and civil rights struggle:
“The world today lost a true champion for peace in the passing of Nelson Mandela, the great anti-apartheid organizer, freedom fighter and the first Black president of South Africa.
“I never met Mr. Mandela, but I’ve had the privilege of speaking to many of his supporters on an SEIU trip to South Africa in 2010. What an inspiration and role model he has been to me — from his early anti-apartheid legal and civil rights work to his many, many years in prison at Robben Island in South Africa.
“One of the high points of my life was visiting his home in Soweto and his cell at Robben Island. The struggle he led to defeat Apartheid should be an inspiration to us all.
“It is hard to think of anyone who made more of a sacrifice for freedom than Mr. Mandela. Those of us who fight daily for justice and equality continue to be energized by the legacy of Mr. Mandela and will truly miss him. Please keep him and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Workers at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital have elected our bargaining committee, and are working together to finalize bargaining proposals as we begin our fight for a new contract. Our main priorities are fair wages, fair staffing and workloads, and job security.
“The hospital is constantly changing. With all the changes they are making to how we deliver patient care, our hours, and our schedules, I’m glad we have our union to protect our rights,” said Georgia Bowman, a Patient Care Tech at Northwestern.
Bargaining this contract is just the next step in fighting for worker justice at Northwestern. We’re building on recent victories in the shop, including winning back pay for workers who received incorrect shift differential and overtime pay, and a great contract for Northwestern’s Fresh Market unit, including increased starting rates, benefits improvements, and a commitment to more full-time positions.
Add your voice to the fight by signing our petition!
(Springfield, Illinois) — The Illinois Senate Tuesday passed legislation awarding favorable treatment to Archer Daniels Midland , a rich corporations that threatened to leave the state if they weren’t exempted from tax obligations that small business and average working families are expected to meet.
In response, Keith Kelleher, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, issued the following statement:
The Illinois Senate’s decision to award hefty tax breaks to ADM is another glaring illustration of a state that has its priorities grossly out of whack.
At a time when Illinois is a chronic deadbeat and critical resources such as education, public safety and healthcare remain woefully under-funded, our elected representatives today voted to sink the state further into red ink by absolving some of its richest corporations from paying their fair share in taxes.
Lawmakers will have a hard time explaining why they just gave a gold-plated gift to cash-rich corporations when small business are hampered by lackluster holiday spending forecasts and average families are wondering how they will afford presents for their loved ones. And now those embattled working families will assume an even greater tax burden to compensate for the share that ADM and others have been exempted from paying.
Even before today, a staggering two-thirds of Illinois corporations paid no income tax. Ironically, giants like ADM and Office Depot actually cited this as a reason they should get a free ride, too. In fact, it’s the foremost reason why we need to put the brakes on more giveaways for those who need them the least.
Today’s vote underscores the urgent need to reform Illinois’ tax policy to restore accountability and fairness for everyone. That process starts by adopting legislation pending in Springfield to permit a fair tax system, where those earning incomes pay higher rates and those with lower incomes pay lower rates.
Lawmakers should stop giving handouts to rich corporations and start alleviating the economic pinch on average Illinois workers. The next vote they take should be in favor of a fair tax system in Illinois.