Amid Withering Testimony Against Rauner OT Rules, Labor Board Issues Unfair Labor Charge; ‘Perfect’ Policy Anything But

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First implemented in May, the policy was rescinded in the face of a court ruling and a threatened class-action lawsuit.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.”

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