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House District 3, Luis Arroyo
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House District 40, Jaime Andrade
House District 43, Anna Moeller
House District 46, Deborah Conroy
House District 55, Martin Moylan
House District 56, Michelle Mussman
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On Monday, October 24, nursing home workers at Bellefontaine Gardens cast their ballots to approve their latest contract.
The unit approved the agreement unanimously, and the bargaining team that led negotiations was pleased with the results.
Workers held their ground, demanding a $1/hour wage increase despite management’s attempts to settle for less.
Other highlights of the agreement include:
“I’m so proud of what we accomplished together,” said Arvellea Walker, a cook who has been at Bellefontaine for nearly 3 years. “We knew we were worth more than just a $0.35 increase so we stood up and fought for it – and we won! Bellefontaine is a second home for most of us and our residents are like our second family. The work we do here is important and I’m glad management finally came around to recognize that.”
Congratulations to workers at Bellefontaine Gardens for a hard-fought contract fight that shows the power of holding out one day longer than management in negotiations!
Gubernatorial Candidate John Gregg Addresses Crowd Concerned with Lost Jobs, Low Wages, and Attacks on Union Rights
GARY—Fed up with a minimum wage of just $7.25/hour and corporate attacks on local jobs and union rights, scores of Hoosiers rallied on Saturday to “Get Out the Vote” for a minimum wage increase that will bring jobs and economic activity back to northwestern Indiana.
The crowd of northwest Indiana residents and local elected officials and candidates heard from several low-wage workers about the devastating impact of low wages and what was at stake for them in the November elections.
“I can’t afford to live on my own, so I have to live with my parents. I’m forty years old, I’m working, but I can’t save up enough money to live on my own! It’s embarrassing. It’s not right,” said Jason Watkins, who currently earns $8 an hour working a part-time job in maintenance. “We need to raise the minimum wage, and we need more jobs that pay people enough to make ends meet.”
John Gregg, the Democratic candidate for Indiana Governor, pledged his support for raising the minimum wage to an enthusiastic crowd and urged everyone in attendance to vote on November 8.
The rally was organized by SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana, a union representing thousands of healthcare workers across Indiana, in conjunction with other labor organizations, faith leaders, and community advocates from northwestern Indiana. Additional speakers included Lake County Assessor Jerome Prince, Reverend John Jackson of Trinity United Church of Christ, and Dan Murchek from the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor.
Following the rally, dozens of union members and community residents knocked on doors in Gary to encourage early voting among households concerned with low wages and high unemployment in the region.
Above: SEIU Healthcare members with John Gregg, Democratic candidate for Indiana Governor.
Hundreds March and Protest to Highlight How Big Banks Profit from Toxic Bank Deals with State—and Governor Rauner’s Responsibility to Take Back Taxpayer Money for Home Care and Child Care
Home care and child care providers joined working parents, seniors, and community supporters on Thursday, October 20, to deliver a strong message to the big banks that profit from Illinois’ toxic interest rate swap deals—and to Governor Rauner who is failing to take meaningful action to reclaim the hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars lost to these deals.
During a protest march and a speakout at a local Chase Bank branch, which included delivering a letter for the bank’s CEO, caregivers and care recipients called for both the bank and Governor Rauner to take immediate action to stop the flow of taxpayer dollars into bank profits—so the funds can instead be invested in home care, child care and other crucial state programs.
Wall Street banks have already profited too much off of toxic swap deals with the State of Illinois, with Chase raking in $55 million to date—and they are positioned to take millions more in taxpayer dollars in immediate payouts that our state needs for home care, child care and good jobs.
Governor Rauner has used the Illinois budget crisis to cut child care for working families and home care services for people with disabilities. He claims there’s no money to protect and expand home care and child care services to families who need them, and to raise home care workers’ wages to $15 an hour—all while he continues to let Wall Street banks profit from toxic swap deals held by big Wall Street banks.
Home care and child care providers, care recipients and community supporters are calling upon these banks to give back the hundreds of millions they’ve already taken, and to renegotiate these bad bank deals so they won’t continue to profit off toxic swaps at the expense of seniors, people with disabilities, children, working parents, and their caregivers.
Governor Rauner needs to stand up to these big banks and show that he supports the interests of taxpayers and vulnerable Illinoisans who depend upon home care and child care–and not the profit interests of Wall Street bankers.
Governor Rauner’s recent announcement that his administration has made a new set of deals with the banks that delays a larger payout temporarily, while acknowledging his responsibility for fixing these deals, is far too little and seems intended only to appease public pressure while ensuring that big banks continue to reap extreme profits from these deals.
It’s time that he puts the interests of Illinoisans above the interests of bankers by pressuring the banks publicly to return the money these banks have taken from us through the toxic swap deals.
Moline – U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL17) and State Representative candidate Mike Halpin heard from local seniors and home healthcare aides Friday, October 14, at the Moline Public Library about the impact of Governor Rauner’s proposed $200 million cut to senior home care services provided through the Community Care Program (CCP). Seniors who rely on home healthcare to continue living independently at home said that these vital services and the home healthcare aides that provide them are a lifeline that enable tens of thousands to remain in communities statewide, avoiding premature and more costly nursing home care.
Governor Bruce Rauner has proposed a new program called the Community Reinvestment Program (CRP), which will slash nearly $200 million from in-home services for seniors. CRP would reimburse providers at less than half the current rate, and providers will be unable to provide the same services for less than half the money.
“We are looking at the most defenseless among us who are being targeted,” explained U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL17). “Governor Rauner says these cuts will save money in the short-term, but the reality is that it will increase the cost to taxpayers when seniors like the ones here with us today are pushed into nursing homes that cost three times more than home care services.”
The CRP would cut – and in some cases gravely reduce – care for as many as 43,000 Illinois seniors. Many will be unable to maintain without these vital services and could be forced into institutional care settings. Nursing home care for an individual senior can cost $30,000 or more annually, compared with the Community Care Program, which averages $10,000 annually.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing a disregard by Governor Rauner to the long-term benefit of supporting our seniors and providing the services that enable them to age with dignity in their homes. We must continue to fully fund vital programs like the Community Care Program and I am proud to stand with our area seniors and home healthcare aides in this fight,” said Mike Halpin, candidate for State Representative of the 72nd district.
“The fact that the most vulnerable among us are continuing to be victims of Governor Rauner’s downturn agenda is something that Mike Halpin and I are here to speak out against today,” added Rep. Bustos.
Our very own Sherry Golden, a St. Louis home care worker, was in attendance on Sunday, October 9, for the second Presidential Debate held at Washington University. Sherry has been working hard every weekend knocking doors to get the word out about what’s at stake this election.
“As a woman of color, a potential Trump presidency scares me. The last thing we need is a leader who encourages hatred and fear. That’s why this election is the most consequential of my lifetime,” explained Sherry. “Hillary Clinton will bring people together to build a better future for working families.”
This November, home care workers and those who rely on them for care could be a powerful voting bloc, and SEIU members like Sherry are doing everything they can to ensure home care voices are heard!
Read more about Sherry’s story below:
Sherry Golden is a veteran home care worker currently employed through Addus and residing in St. Louis, MO.
Sherry has devoted 14 years to providing high quality care for seniors in the region and says this work is truly her passion. Mrs. Golden started off caring for her ailing grandmother. When her grandmother passed, she knew she wanted to find a way to continue to give back to the elderly who were struggling to maintain their independence at home.
“Many of the seniors I serve don’t have anyone else around to help them. They end up becoming part of your family and you grow very attached,”
explained Mrs. Golden. “Home care is so important, no senior should be forced into a nursing home if they don’t need to be there.”
Sherry fondly recalls how she first got involved in SEIU.
“Our shop steward, Val Gordon, would always call me up to try and get me out to meetings and actions, but I just never made time. Finally, one day
she called and I explained I didn’t have a ride to go to the event. Val immediately offered to pick me up and I knew I was out of excuses at that point!
“The first meeting I attended had a deep impact on me – I just remember feeling like SEIU was a family and that I wanted to be part of it. The rest is
history! Now, I’m the one calling people up offering them rides to things!”
Sherry has developed into a member leader who wears many hats. She’s played a leadership role in the local Fight for $15—testifying, speaking out in the media, and spreading the word to more local workers. But she says one of her favorite union activities is getting out in the neighborhoods and
canvassing about the upcoming election.
“I love going out and knocking doors because you meet so many different people. I know I educate the people I encounter and usually I even learn from them, it’s a really great feeling. Talking to fellow voters about what’s at stake this election is an incredibly rewarding experience.”
Sherry Golden is not only a union leader and home care worker, she’s also a wife and mother of two sons ages 22 and 14. “I am a very family-oriented
person and my two sons continue to make me proud each and every day.”
Sherry’s message to members who have yet to get involved is this: “I understand because that was me too. But I can tell you firsthand that you will not find a more rewarding experience than standing up for your rights and the rights of others. There is power in knowledge that no one can take away from you. As workers, we are the union and it’s up to us to build an even more powerful voice.”
CHICAGO-While scores of affected consumers, advocates and workers testified at hearings this week against the brutal and unilaterally-applied Rauner administration policy to limit home healthcare for people with disabilities, the Illinois Labor Relations Board (ILRB) Executive Director has issued an unfair labor practice complaint alleging that the State unlawfully implemented the policy.
It’s just the latest twist in the story of the Rauner-attempted limits to overtime care for people with disabilities in the State Home Services Program (HSP) which fundamentally limit their independence.
First implemented in May, the policy was rescinded in the face of a court ruling and a threatened class-action lawsuit. The Rauner administration is now back and attempting to achieve the limits via an administrative process.
At hearings in Springfield Thursday as a part of that push, a top Rauner administrator made the remarkable claim that the policy, which has thrown the entire system of care in Illinois into disarray, was “close to perfect.”
This claim followed testimony in Chicago Monday by a lower-level coordinator for the program who alleged a cover-up by top brass of the problems in the program.
The new ILRB complaint, which is running on a different track, says the State failed to bargain with SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the union representing 28,000 workers in the program, as well as failed to respond to requests for information.
Terri Harkin, vice president for the union’s home healthcare division, said the following of the ILRB complaint:
“The heartbreaking testimony we heard this week from consumers and providers about the effects of the overtime policy should be enough. The complaint, as well as the powerful criticisms issued by the U.S. Department of Labor, just add to the reasons the Rauner administration should abandon this policy and suspend its attempts to usher it in.”