June 2015

Training matters to home and health care providers

Governor Rauner has proposed cutting training funds for home care and child care workers. Everyone wants their children, seniors, and loved ones with disabilities safe in the hands of an experienced and well-trained care provider. Cutting training would create greater liability risks for care providers and inhibits professional advancement while putting consumers at risk.

Over the next several weeks, home and child care providers will offer photo testimony about why their professional training is so vitally important to them. 



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6.19.15 Post             6.17.15 Post   6.10.15 Post   6.9.15 Post Check back regularly for more testimonies!

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ICYMI: Sun-Times: In Wake of Growing Consultant Scandal, Rauner Halving Pay for Pricey “Off-Shored” Hatchet

15119528655_d8c146c1c5_o Controversial $30K-Per-Month Hire Central to Deep Cuts to Education, Services for Elderly and Disabled

CHICAGO – The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that after stonewalling the press about the contract of a controversial consultant hired to enact deep cuts to the Illinois social safety net, Gov. Bruce Rauner abruptly announced that he was cutting the hatchet’s $30,000-per-month pay in half.

Donna Arduin, who became embroiled in controversy in budget fights in California, Michigan and Florida, is involved in new controversy here in Illinois, where the Sun-Times reported that her pay-like that of other top Rauner consultants-comes from a different funding source than the governor’s office, in a practice known as “off-shoring.”

She joins top officials Linda Lingle and Beth Purvis in being paid from separate funds. According to the paper, “Rauner criticized Gov. Pat Quinn for engaging in the same practice and during an intensely divisive campaign (calling) it “ghost-payrolling.”

Read the entire Sun-Times report here.

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Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich: We need stronger unions

In a video produced by MoveOn.org, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich shows how the decline in union influence over the past 50 years has mirrored the decline in real wages and exposes the reality of “Right to Work.”

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In loving memory: Armean Allen

Statement from Keith Kelleher, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Kansas:

Armean Allen

Armean Allen

It is with great sadness that I am writing to notify our staff and membership of the passing of one of our great members and leaders, Armean Allen.

Armean was an active member and leader in HCII and Legacy Local 880 for over 25 years – first as a rank and file member, and later as a leader, steward, Executive Board member and Officer.

She filled many roles in our union and was a mother to many of us as we built the union together over the years.

She was a veteran of the Great Migration, who came to Chicago from down South and worked all her life in many hard, backbreaking jobs in factories, in hotels, and other service occupations, and then finally became a homecare worker later in life.

She was a union person, who helped organize the union in one of the factories and was a key leader in the 25 year fight to win recognition at Department of Human Services/Office ofRehabilitative Services (DHS/ORS), and served on the bargaining committee and helped to negotiate the contracts that brought $13 an hour and health insurance to over 25,000 Personal Assistants at DHS/ORS.

But what I will remember most about Armean was her spirit, her belief in her principles, and her rock-sold character. Whether it was negotiating with the state, or debating an issue, or getting arrested for the union, Armean was always at the action, always in the thick of things, and never shy about expressing her opinions.

Whether it was talking to a police officer about to arrest her or winning the debate within our caucus to defend the right to marriage for our gay sisters and brothers at the 2004 SEIU convention, she was not one to shy away.

And she believed in ACTION!  I can remember many days when Armean would be out door-knocking for a political candidate, or helping to lead a picket line or action on labor, as well as community issues.

She was willing to literally put her body on the line —  In June of 2003, when then-Governor Ryan tried to cut tens of millions of dollars from the state homecare programs, Armean, then in her early 80s, led the march of the “STOP the CUTS SIX”  chanting and singing into the state of Illinois Center, sat down in front of the elevators, and continued chanting and singing as the police were carrying the others away.

When the police came to her, she asked the arresting officer, “why are you arresting me,” and he said that they were arresting her for singing, she replied, “Arresting people for singing, why don’t you go to the Gospel Fest – lots of people singing over there!”

She had an unbreakable spirit.

She led a full life, and helped to improve life  for tens of thousands of workers and consumers.

We are all better for having known her.

Please remember Armean and her family in your thoughts and prayers.

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Governor Jay Nixon vetoes Missouri Right to Work legislation

Missouri Floods 2013

Alongside union members at United Auto Workers Local 249 in Claycomo, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced he would veto the so-called “Right to Work” legislation passed by the Missouri legislature.

“Right to Work” legislation allows union members to opt-out of paying dues while still receiving the benefits of collective bargaining and union solidarity. While supporters of “Right to Work” claim that the law benefits workers, the truth is that the law is nothing more than a tactic to undermine the power of the union by preventing it from collecting the resources it needs to organize. This hurts workers. In fact, on average “Right to Work” states pay their workers lower wages and have seen no meaningful increase in economic activity.

As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right to work.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone.”

Read more about Governor Nixon’s veto from KY3

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St. Louis Mayor Slay pushes for $15 per hour living wage


After a two-year campaign and lots of great organizing by Show Me 15 St. Louis and others, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay publicly announced his support of a $15 an hour living wage and a plan to bring the proposal to the City Council for consideration.

If successful, St. Louis would become the first non-coastal city in the nation to embrace a $15 per hour living wage. The city’s Aldermen are expected to be presented with the plan on Friday, June 5.

Read more from KSDK St. Louis.

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Report: Cutting Children Out of Care, Into Poverty

A new report out today details the devastating consequences of Governor Rauner’s proposed cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program and other vital family services.

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Click here to read the full report

Read the full report here. The report details the cuts proposed by the Governor, including:

  • Reducing funding and access to early intervention would have negative impacts on child development, especially for those with mild or moderate delays who benefit most.
  • Reducing or eliminating funding to effective, efficient public health programs targeting children will have negative impacts to child health status as well as population-level impacts lasting into adulthood.
  • Eliminating after school supports (both CCAP and after school programming) will have negative social and academic outcomes particularly for at-risk populations.
  • Reducing access to child care, and eliminating quality supports for providers (training fund and rate add-ons), will have an impact on child outcomes including their language, cognitive, social development, including and especially those children with special needs.

Additionally, the report examines the impact that these services have on the healthy development of children:

  • While research shows clearly that poverty is the primary social determinant of health for families with children, Rauner’s policies push more workers in poverty through wage freezes and workforce reductions due to cuts.
  • Increased co-pays and reduced access to affordable, low-cost child care will jeopardize the role of subsidized child care program in keeping parents in the workforce.
  • Loss of relative care in the subsidized child care program will severely restrict the access to child care during non-traditional hours that research shows low wage workers need.
  • Cuts to higher education reduce access to state education programs that improve chances of economic mobility.
  • While research links violent environments and poverty, Rauner’s policies not only maintain families in poverty but also threaten to cut programs that would mitigate the impacts of violence for low-income children.

Read the full report here.

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BREAKING: Rauner’s Unilateral, Devastating Moves Do Not Pass Moral Muster

CHICAGO – Gov. Bruce Rauner late Tuesday announced unilateral cuts to a wide array of vital services and programs that working families and seniors depend upon–without waiting for a budget deal to be finalized.

The package of cuts Rauner announced included eligibility restrictions for the Community Care Program that likely contradict Illinois law, as well as cuts to the state Child Care Assistance Program.

Following is the response of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher:

“Bruce Rauner’s unilateral cuts announced today likely will not pass muster in court and they certainly do not pass muster with the values of the people of Illinois. They will inflict pain on countless struggling families and seniors–all in the name of ‘reform.’

“The bottom line is that Bruce Rauner refuses true budgetary reform–generating much-needed revenue by making the wealthy of the state pay their fair share.

“Denying child care for kids; home care for seniors; and the crucial resources that thousands of working families rely upon to meet their most basic needs shows a warped set of priorities, especially when Gov. Rauner is doing everything he can to protect those at the very top.

“We will pursue all the options at our disposal to protect seniors, as well as children and working families, from these immoral and unilateral moves.”

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Another Rauner appointee being paid from Department of Human Services budget


After the revelation that Governor Rauner’s education czar Beth Purvis receives a quarter of a million dollar salary siphoned from the Department of Human Services (DHS) budget, evidence has emerged that another Rauner appointee pulls their salary from the DHS budget.

Jennifer Hammer, an advisor to Governor Rauner, receives a $115,000 salary from DHS’ slim budget.

Natasha Korecki from the Sun-Times has more details.

In April, Governor Rauner proposed cutting $26 million from the following DHS programs and services:

(1) Funeral & Burial; (2) Immigrant Integration Services; (3) Welcoming Centers; (4) ARC Lifespan; (5) Best Buddies; (6) Autism; (7) Group Home Loans; (8) Compulsive Gambling; (9) Westside Health; (10) Addiction Prevention (GRF); (11) Addiction Prevention (Youth Alcohol & Substance Abuse); (12) Assistance for Homeless; (13) Community Services; (14) Teen REACH; (15) Coalition F/Tech Assist-Child; (16) For Children’s Health Program; (17) Outreach to Individuals to Engage in Services; (18) Regions Special Consumer Support; (19) SMRF Training; (20) Transportation; (21) DD Latino Outreach; (22) Microboard Development and Outreach; and (23) Epilepsy.

The Governor later rescinded some of the proposed cuts.

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Rauner Hurts Women Day of Action: Press Clips

Alton Press:

Alton Telegraph: Outcry over area service cuts: Importance of home care, child care services stressed at East Alton rally

Bernice Kenshalo said home care services saved her life.

After being found in a diabetic coma, Kenshalo had to learn many basic skills — how to walk, feed herself, drink from a cup — all over again. She still doesn’t have the quality of life of others, but with the help of a home care provider she has begun the rehabilitation process.

Kenshalo was one of a handful of care providers and receivers Thursday who protested Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed cuts to home and child care services. The protest, held outside the Department of Human Services office at 608 W. St. Louis Ave. in East Alton, was one of six held across the state Thursday to oppose the cuts. Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a labor union representing nearly 1.9 million workers in over 100 occupations in the United States and Canada, organized the protests, with others being held in Chicago, Harvey, Peoria, Springfield and Marion, Ill.

Kenshalo said if Rauner’s proposed budget, which includes cuts of more than $500 million in funding for DHS programs, goes through, her life will again be in danger.

“That’s going to kill me, because I won’t be cared for,” Kenshalo said. “He needs to realize what he’s doing to us.”

Read the full article here. 


KMOV Channel 4


Peoria Press:

WYZZ Channel 43


Peoria Public Radio: Area residents, workers protest looming state cuts

Area residents and child care providers are calling on Governor Rauner to protect funding amid looming cuts.  East Peoria resident Erica Atherton says her daughter has a genetic disorder that requires a wheelchair. She says they’ve been waiting nine months for a new wheelchair due to frozen Medicaid payments:

“There’s things that they can take money from.  Why does it have to be education, why does it have to be the special needs? They go through enough.”

Listen to the full story here.


WMBC Channel 31: Moms, Child Care Supporters Protest Budget Cuts

Child care providers across the state are taking a stand against Governor Rauner and budget cuts against the Child Care Assistance program. Protesters say the move would force many parents to work in fear or worse, to lose their jobs.

The program helps low-income working parents pay for some or all of their day care costs. The governor wants to slash it by 20 percent which would cause a giant ripple effect for Annette Edwards.

Edwards cares for three children on a regular basis. The kid’s mother works a minimum wage job and depends on child care assistance subsidies.
Edwards says cuts to the program would be catastrophic.

“Which would then affect these children, either they would have to stay home alone because I have a five-year-old. Or she would have to quit her job to care for her kids,” Edwards said.

It’s a scenario she and countless others fear is possible under the proposed budget.

“I just want to say that I am woman and I am a mother,” said Gloria Artis. “And you are making it hard for women to feed their babies.”

Watch the full segment here.


Springfield Press:

WCIA Channel 3: Women join the ranks in statewide protests

The state’s budget battle continues and Thursday, women took to the state Capitol. They’re worried about Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed cuts.

Women from all over the state rallied to convince Governor Rauner to reverse course on some of phis proposed policies. They say many will have more impact on women than men.

Gail Hamilton says she has worked hard throughout her life; even working three jobs just to get by.

“It was three part-time jobs. It was part-time jobs that allowed me to take care of people who are very near and dear.”

But, she says, what makes her upset is knowing the governor’s proposals affect her negatively as well as several other women.

“Going to rip holes through home care workers. It’s going to rip holes through the vital services of our seniors need, our disabled needs.”

Several advocates, especially women rallied across the state, making a stop right here in Central Illinois. Whether it’s proposals to slash home care and child care services, women like Hamilton say they are telling the governor “No.”

Watch the full segment here. 


Marion Press:

WPSD Channel 6


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