(March 24th, 2016, Chicago) —Lakesia Collins, a nursing home member leader, spoke passionately today at the Chicago Teacher Union’s press conference, along with other community groups and labor allies, after CTU announced a statewide day of action and teacher walkout on Friday, April 1st. Ms. Collins spoke about why nursing homes are fighting for a fair wage of $15 an hour and why that intersects with supporting teachers and protecting public education.
Watch press coverage from the press event below, as well as watch Lakesia’s speech in full, or scroll below to read her written remarks:
Chicago NBC 5: Nursing Home Workers and Fight for 15 Join CTU Actions On April 1st
Chicago WTTW: CTU President, Karen Lewis, Praises SEIU, Labor Allies in Joining April 1st Actions
Full Speech from Lakesia Collins, Nursing Home Leader: “SEIU Healthcare Stands With Chicago Teachers”
Lakesia Collins’ Statement at Chicago Teachers Union Press Conference
My name is Lakesia Collins.
I’m a single mother whose children go to public school here in Chicago.
I’m also a proud nursing home worker who gives exceptional and quality care to the patients and families I serve.
And yet, I am paid poverty wages and can barely support myself and my children.
We, as working people, share one struggle.
Yes, on Friday, April 1st, nursing home workers and working people all across Chicago and Illinois are standing up to Gov. Rauner’s extreme agenda and demanding that the billionaires and millionaires in our state finally invest in our communities again and pay their fair share in taxes.
That’s why I’m proud to announce that nursing home workers are standing in unity with our dedicated teachers and the CTU because we are also fighting against the nursing home owners to negotiate a good contract that gives us a living wage of $15.
It is well documented that the number one driver of poor educational outcomes is income inequality and poverty.
That’s why we, as nursing home workers, see both our fight for fair wages of $15 an hour and protecting the value of public education as absolutely essential and connected.
The agenda by rich special-interests is simple: make a huge profit to put it in their own pocket.
The richest 1% want to drain revenue and resources away from everyday and working families.
As a nursing home worker, this sounds familiar doesn’t it?
Wealthy nursing home owners also don’t want to pay fair and living wages of $15 an hour and instead want to slash staffing levels, resources, and hurt our ability to do our jobs to give quality care to our residents.
This is not some abstract issue.
The richest 1%’s and their extreme agenda embodied by Gov. Rauner is designed to hurt MY children, their education, and their opportunity.
And the agenda by nursing home owners to try and silence the voices of workers like myself and hold down our wages won’t work anymore.
That’s why on April 1st, we have one shared struggle — to fight for fundamental fairness for all working families.