CHICAGO-Following is the joint statement of Access Living, IMPACT Center for Independent Living, Northwestern Illinois Center for Independent Living, Living Independently Now Center of Southern Illinois, Opportunities for Access, Illinois Iowa Center for Independent Living, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the effort Thursday of Rauner administration negotiators to use federal overtime rules for home healthcare workers as a way to extract a 4-year wage freeze for Personal Assistants, already some of the lowest-paid state workers, who care for people with disabilities.
Draconian new limits to overtime hours for home healthcare workers, which only allow a very small percentage of people with disabilities to approve overtime, are set to go into effect May 1st. The Rauner administration is also holding expanded flexibility for people with disabilities hostage to its demand for a wage freeze.
“The Rauner administration’s use of new federal overtime rules for caregivers to extract a four-year wage freeze from this low-paid workforce is a cruel bait-and-switch that will further destabilize the system of care for people with disabilities, will cost taxpayers more in the long run, and will set Illinois on a path backward.
“Driving down the pay for home healthcare workers makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to find quality care and will lead to an even higher rate of turnover. This, in turn, will drive more caregivers of seniors and people with disabilities on to public assistance; will drive more seniors and people with disabilities into costlier nursing facilities; and will encumber the state of Illinois with more administrative costs.
“And then there is the moral cost: We cannot believe that the people of Illinois would want the governor to use rules meant to add dignity to caregivers as a way to play hardball with people with disabilities. We call on the governor to suspend the May 1st implementation of the rules, to end his attack on the caregiving workforce and to stop shredding the system of home healthcare that keeps so many seniors and people with disabilities in their communities with dignity.”
Contact our organizer to learn more about our campaign: Katrina.Lemon@seiuhcil.org
Stephanie Lewis: “As a senior employee at NMH for 30years, I make over $15 an hour. I need to be able to keep up with the constant increases in today’s economy just to stay above water. But there are far too many of my coworkers who are barely making over the minimum wage. That’s not right! We need to fight together for fair wages.”
Joseph Johnson: “After working at NMH for one year, it is impossible for me to be able to support myself and my family on less than $15 an hour. I feel that we all deserve to earn livable wages whether we’ve been here for 1year, or 30years. Healthcare workers like myself who faithfully serve our patients and our community urgently need a $15 minimum wage.“
ABC 7: https://youtu.be/DAV9_7ExmvM
Rockford Register Star: http://www.rrstar.com/article/20160425/NEWS/160429668
Healthcare Workers Fight for $15 and 15% Across the Board Raises In Contract Negotiations, and Continue Their Strong Solidarity for Striking Fast-Food Workers
(Kansas City, MO) – On April 14th, the international “day of action” for the Fight for 15 movement, healthcare and hospital workers from Truman Medical Center and Encompass joined with hundreds of striking fast-food and child care workers and held a major rally.
Two amazing member leaders, Melissa Dockery, an Encompass worker, and Da’ Monica Weaver from Truman Medical Center gave impassioned speeches at the rally.
Truman Medical Center and Encompass Medical Group workers proposed to their respective employers a starting wage floor of $15 an hour and a 15% increase over the life of a new agreement. Truman Medical Center “first shift” workers clocked out at 3:30pm and walked to Hospital Hill Park on 23rd and Gillham to demand “15/15”.
Kansas City: Melissa Dockery from Encompass, and Da’ Monica Weaver from Truman Medical Center Speak at “Fight for $15” Rally
Below are remarks from Flora Johnson, Chair of the Executive Board of SEIU Healthcare at a press conference today with faith leaders from Arise Chicago demanding Governor Bruce Rauner pass a responsible budget that protects Illinois families. Arise presented a letter from dozens of faith leaders from across Illinois who urged Gov. Rauner to fairly treat the tens of thousands of state workers currently without a contract.
Like our brothers and sisters at AFSCME, our 53,000 child care and home healthcare workers have been working without a contract since July 1st. At the bargaining table, the governor is seeking to strip our workforce, already the lowest paid in the state, of wages, training and their health insurance.
Our union is but part of a larger story of injustice and cruelty that is playing out all across Illinois.
The Scripture says that the cries of the Poor reach the heavens. But, as we have seen throughout this nightmare period, they do not reach Bruce Rauner.
Every day, another social service agency closes its doors or turns people away.
Every day, seniors and people with disabilities across the state are living in fear that they may be forced to go without the home healthcare that keeps them in their communities and with some dignity.
Every day, another prevention program or wraparound service is sacrificed in Governor Rauner’s cynical game.
And for what?
None of this is about saving taxpayer dollars. And it certainly isn’t about improving the welfare and condition of our vulnerable.
This is all about Governor Rauner’s single-minded desire to weaken or exterminate unions outright. He will not listen to reason. He will not listen to elections. He will not listen to fellow Republicans.
We are here to commemorate the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King. He understood the direct link between racial justice and economic justice and that is why he died supporting the union movement. It is no coincidence in my mind that the cuts and disruptions being enacted by Governor Rauner fall disproportionately on the heads of women and people of color.
This is wrong and we are called by our conscience to stop him.
Only the labor movement can check the greed of corporations, and only by working together will we of the labor movement be able to stop the reckless cruelty of Bruce Rauner.
CHICAGO-Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Executive Vice President Greg Kelley regarding the ongoing April 1 statewide Day of Action:
“When he was asked about the U.S. Supreme Court decision this week to side with public workers in the Friedrichs case, the anti-union stalking horse, Gov. Rauner called the decision “tragic.” It was a window into the mind of the most blatantly hostile governor to workers that Illinois has seen in modern history.
“The manufactured crisis the state now endures has at its heart Rauner’s desire to strip workers of protections, to drive down their wages and to reverse an entire century of gains by labor that created our Middle Class. In his pursuit of his anti-union goals, we have seen some TRULY tragic results. Thousands of vulnerable Illinoisans have lost care, are in danger of losing care or are just falling through the cracks. Small businesses, schools and social service agencies are closing their doors. And at the bargaining table, Gov. Rauner continues his assault, seeking to strip our home healthcare and child care workforce–the lowest paid in the state–of wages, training and health insurance.
“Today, we rise up and say ‘no’ to the tragedy unfolding at the hands of Bruce Rauner and Mayor Emanuel. We say ‘no’ to cuts that leave seniors, children and people with disabilities in the lurch. We say ‘no’ to special treatment for corporations, Wall Street banks and billionaires. We say ‘no’ to greedy nursing home owners, who put profits over people.
“And we say a loud ‘yes’ to the dignity of labor, the protection of the vulnerable and the fundamental right of all workers to bargain collectively.”