January 2017

BREAKING: Access Living & SEIU Healthcare Illinois Statement on Rauner veto of Senate Bill 261

Governor’s veto of home care bill shows disregard for people with disabilities and the workers who care for them

CHICAGO— Following is a statement on behalf of Access Living and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to Bruce Rauner’s veto of SB 261, a bill designed to protect people with disabilities in the Home Services Program and their caregivers from efforts to cap overtime hours, threatening the safety and independence of thousands of consumers:

“Governor Rauner’s veto of SB 261 today is a blow to thousands of people with disabilities who were counting on the governor to change course and end his efforts to cap overtime hours for caregivers in the DHS Home Services Program.

“For over a year, people with disabilities, workers, and advocates have spoken out sharing personal stories of the harm overtime caps caused, and detailing the danger posed to continued independence for thousands who rely on the Home Services Program to remain living with dignity in their communities. Governor Rauner’s veto today sends a strong signal that his administration will continue its path in shutting out stakeholders and ignoring the concerns of those who stand to be impacted by his overtime policy.

“Access Living and SEIU Healthcare Illinois continue to call on Governor Rauner to abandon his misguided and dangerous overtime policy, and instead, meet directly with stakeholders and negotiate an overtime policy that will protect the individual health, safety, and independence of people with disabilities in Illinois.”



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Attorney General Action a Symptom of Rauner Crisis

The following statement was released by SEIU President Keith Kelleher in response to Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s lawsuit seeking to overturn a court injunction that allows state workers to be paid during the budget impasse:

“On behalf of our home healthcare and child care workers who have collective bargaining agreements with the State of Illinois and provide vital care for 30,000 people with disabilities and 61,000 children, we obviously oppose any efforts to stop payments or efforts that delay payments to our workforce, who struggle to get by as it is. But we all know how we got here–because of a governor who ran on shutting down government.

“Bruce Rauner NEVER will know the real pain that is endured by those he causes to suffer. But he has welcomed it in a shameful fashion by abandoning his constitutional duty to present a balanced budget to the General Assembly. Instead he has held Illinois hostage to his political wish list. The Attorney General’s action is a symptom. This governor is its cause.

“We call on Rauner to present a budget that funds vital services for the most vulnerable in our state.”


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BREAKING: Healthcare workers condemn Senate vote to lower wages for Missouri’s working families


Healthcare workers condemn Senate vote to lower wages for Missouri’s working families

SAINT LOUIS — Home care, nursing home, and hospital workers who are members of SEIU Healthcare Missouri condemned today’s vote in the Missouri Senate to send so-called “right to work” legislation to the Missouri House, despite bipartisan opposition and widespread concern about the law’s impact on worker wages:

“It’s incredibly frustrating that politicians are spending their time working for special interests and lowering our wages instead of focusing on real issues that matter to working families,” said Caprice Nevils, SEIU Healthcare Missouri Executive Board Member and Care Partner at St. Louis University Hospital. “The frontline healthcare providers that I work with every day deserve better wages, but legislation like this is only going to make it harder for our families to make ends meet.”

“There’s a reason why leaders in both parties opposed these attacks, and a reason why thousands of workers have been calling their senators and representatives to stop the assault on working Missourians — this is bad news for wages, benefits, and safe workplaces in Missouri,” said Nevils.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri Kansas is the fastest-growing union of healthcare, child care, home care and nursing home workers in the Midwest. Uniting more than 90,000 workers who provide vital services to our states’ children, seniors, patients and people with disabilities, we are committed to quality care for those we serve and quality jobs for caregivers and healthcare professionals.


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State of Ruin: 10 Facts about Illinois Under Rauner

1. Manufacturing Jobs Lost

Since Governor Rauner took office, the state has lost more than 17,000 manufacturing jobs. (http://www.ides.illinois.gov/LMI/Pages/CES.aspx)

Once upon a time there were people working in this abandoned plant. Focus is on helmet.

2. Credit Rating the Lowest in the Nation

Under Governor Rauner, the state of Illinois has had its credit downgraded to the lowest rate any state has seen in more than a decade.  (http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20160610/business/160619908/)

Down chart graph on computer monitor concept

3. One million People Without Services

As of a June 2016 survey, 91% of human service agencies that receive state funding had cut the number of clients they serve, resulting in nearly 1 million people without critical services. (https://uw-mc.org/4thbudgetsurvey/)

RBC one million Twitter copy

4. Close to 50,000 Children Without Child Care

As of November 2016, a full year AFTER the Governor supposedly restored the Child Care Assistance Program, there remain 46,551 fewer children receiving child care subsidies than in November 2014, before he took office.

I need child care

5. Home Healthcare Facilities Shuttered

21 home healthcare agencies serving low-income seniors have closed, reduced service areas or capped intake, raising the likelihood of forced institutionalization.

Portrait of an elderly woman sitting alone in a senior care facility

6. Caregivers Disrespected

Governor Rauner accused child care providers of inflicting brain damage on kids. (Capitol Fax, 01/19/17)

Rauner hands sneaky smile_580

7. Women and People of Color Disproportionately Harmed

Governor Rauner insists on poverty wages for home child care and home healthcare providers, 9 in 10 of whom are women and a majority of whom are people of color.  He vetoed legislation to provide a $15 minimum wage and has done nothing to help boost wages of child care providers. The average licensed Family Child Care provider makes only $5.05 an hour. (http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=85484#a_toc61)

MLK Poverty

8. Anti-Violence Programs Cuts

1 - violence

9. 100,000 Immigrants Have Lost Services

RBC Immigration Twitter

10. Domestic Violence Services Cut

Domestic violence providers have received no state funding since June.

RBC Domestic Violence Twitter




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State of Denial: Illinois Languishes as Bruce Rauner Budget Crisis Continues

Trump Rhetoric Matched By Policy of Ruin in Land of Lincoln

SPRINGFIELD-Following is the response of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s State of the State Address today:

“Bruce Rauner remains in a state of denial. His address today did nothing to acknowledge HIS own role in a budget that purposefully has harmed women, children, seniors, people of color and people with disabilities in an attempt to achieve a non-budgetary political wish list.

rauner state of denial“His has abdicated his chief constitutional responsibility, to INTRODUCE a balanced budget, all while using the revenging power of his checkbook to back right-wing politicians who share his vision of dismantling the social safety net in Illinois brick-by-brick and destroying the rights of workers.

“While he has distanced himself from Donald Trump’s rhetoric and hidden his support, his bullying actions fit perfectly within the new nightmare framework in Washington.

“When it comes to the state of programs staffed by OUR members, Rauner’s record has been particularly abysmal. Almost 50,000 fewer children receive care because of his rules changes. And thousands of people with disabilities face forced institutionalization because of overtime cuts to their home healthcare.

In the sorry state of Bruce Rauner, it’s up to members of both parties to insist NOW on a fully-funded budget NOT balanced on the backs of the most vulnerable among us and NOT predicated on a non-budgetary political wish list.”




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Labor Women Gather Just Before Women’s March on Chicago: Attacks on Women Just Won’t Work

Women’s Rights are Union Rights

JaquieAlgeeNMH Fist in Air_580CHICAGO–Labor women and their supporters will gather at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Congress Room at Roosevelt University to lend their voices to the Women’s March on Chicago just before its kickoff.

Representatives from SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the Amalgamated Transit Union, AFSCME Council 31, Workers United and other groups are set to rally a crowd of hundreds that will join the march program at Columbus and Jackson.

Republican legislatures and executives across the Midwest, in Springfield and in Washington have attacked female-dominated unions without regard to the harm these attacks will do to families, jobs and services for women.

WHAT: Labor Women Rally En Route to the March on Chicago.

WHO: Representatives of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, AFSCME Council 31, Workers United, Amalgamated Transit Union and other labor-friendly organizations.

WHEN: 9 a.m., SATURDAY, Jan. 21st.

WHERE: Congress Room, 2nd Floor, Roosevelt University, 430 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.

SPEAKERS: Jaquie Algee, Vice President & Director of External Relations at SEIU Healthcare IL, IN, MO, KS

Greg Kelley, Executive Vice President at SEIU Healthcare IL, IN, MO, KS

Faith Arnold, Vice President of Child Care at SEIU Healthcare IL, IN, MO, KS

Carl Sims, nursing home provider

Fatimah Al-Nurridin, home care provider

Deborah Cosey-Lane, Amalgamated Transit Union

Karren Halloway, AFSCME Council 31

Chicago Alderman Toni Foulkes (16th Ward)

Katie Jordan, Coalition of Labor Union Women

Jeanne Cameron, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans

Delia Ramirez, Community Renewal Society

Rev. Marilyn Pagan Banks, A Just Harvest

Rev. Emma Lozano, Lincoln United Methodist Church



Women’s March Logistics

After the 9AM Women’s Rally, we’ll head to the Women’s March. The crowd is expected to top 50,000. Here’s what you need to know:

Disability access drop off point at Columbus and Monroe. The new site is still adjacent to Grant Park but is on Columbus Drive just north of Jackson Drive, where participants will gather for a rally at 10 a.m. Attendees will march about 11:30 a.m. west on Jackson to Federal Plaza. Columbus and Monroe.

More info here: http://womens121marchonchicago.org/ & https://goo.gl/MJdhza

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Rauner shows disregard for child care providers, families

bruce-micFollowing is the response from Faith Arnold, SEIU Healthcare Illinois executive board member, vice chair, child care division on Governor Bruce Rauner’s comments on child care in Illinois:

“Bruce Rauner’s insensitive characterization of the state of child care in Illinois shows his gross disregard for providers and the children and working parents we serve. Our choice of profession reflects our commitment to children and families and is NOT a reflection of our education. And it certainly is not a reflection of our character. However, the governor’s insulting choice of words serves as a poor reflection on HIS.

Rauner knows better than anyone that HIS cuts to service have caused incredible damage to the Child Care Assistance Program, which at one point was among the most successful in the nation. No more. As a result of his arbitrary administrative maneuvering, and his failure to reach a fair contract with the state’s child care providers, he has engaged in a full-scale dismantling of the program which has cost jobs, slowed economic growth and harmed Illinois families.

“But more than that, his regrettable use of language to insult people like me shows someone entirely disconnected from the working families he claims to serve. It’s no wonder we enter a new year without a budget and with little hope for true leadership or compromise from Bruce Rauner, who is resorting to bully language once again.”

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JCAR Votes for Delay in Rauner OT Cuts

SPRINGFIELD- Following is the joint statement of Access Living and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the breaking news that the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules voted unanimously to delay the adoption of Rauner administration rules to cut overtime for providers caring for people with disabilities in the Home Services Program. The administration initially had attempted to rush the rules, revealing them with fewer than four business days available for public review:

“The unanimous decision by the General Assembly’s administrative committee today to delay the adoption of Bruce Rauner’s overtime changes to home healthcare for people with disabilities is a welcome victory in the struggle to preserve independence and control for consumers. The last-minute maneuvering by the administration, publishing rules that represent fundamental and disturbing modifications to the program less than four working days before a hearing, was an insult to stakeholders who have been shut out from the process time and again.

“The delay should give members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules a chance to review the serious concerns raised about the latest Rauner cuts, which continue to leave thousands of people with disabilities in the lurch, introduce new hardships on consumers, contain unacceptable penalties for caregivers and consumers, violate providers’ collective bargaining agreement as well as numerous state and federal laws, and continue to leave consumers at risk for costly forced institutionalization.

“With today’s JCAR decision, the Rauner administration itself has the opportunity to strike out a new path when it comes to the overtime care for people with disabilities that honors their dignity and the dignity of the workers who care for them. We urge the administration to listen to the concerns of the stakeholders in this highly successful program and to never again treat them with such shabby disregard.”



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Christmas Eve Surprise: Rauner Administration Withholds OT Policy from Public to Avoid Scrutiny as Effort to Cut Care Continues; Controversial Move Rammed through Administrative Process Without Stakeholders

(Chicago) Following is a joint statement from Access Living and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the breaking news that the Department of Human Services submitted to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (“JCAR”) its controversial new policy to cut home healthcare for people with disabilities before the close of business ahead of the Christmas holiday in a move that excluded stakeholders:

Rauner hands sneaky smile“After an entire year of chaos in the system of care for people with disabilities, the Rauner administration continues a game of brinksmanship that is bringing real harm to people with disabilities and the people who support their independence.

“The confusion has been coupled by threats of lawsuits, unfair labor practice charges and an outcry throughout Illinois from the very people who rely on the Home Service Program to remain in their homes and communities with dignity.

“Let’s remember how we got here: The federal decision to enforce overtime for home healthcare workers, the culmination of years of struggle for a workforce comprising many women and people of color, was never meant as an excuse to achieve “savings.” But in the process, the Rauner administration created a punitive, confusing and unevenly-applied system that has caused undue pain to thousands of people with disabilities and personal assistants who work with people with disabilities in the Home Services Program.

“The new rules the Rauner administration put forward the last day of business before the Christmas holiday have not been shared with stakeholders, nor have they provided ample time for members of JCAR to review and evaluate them. With only four business days left ahead of the Tuesday, January 10 JCAR meeting where the issue appears on the agenda, the revised rules have yet to be shared with the public and do not fully reflect the concerns and input of stakeholders.

“From what little we know that publicly was shared by the administration, it appears that the DHS is prepared to continue its harmful path of disruption and exclusion, continuing the erosion of the principle of consumer control that is the bedrock foundation of the Home Services Program.

“We call on JCAR to delay the vote on this policy until stakeholders have access to the rules as submitted, and we call on the Rauner administration to suspend implementation of these rules and to come to the table with stakeholders, including consumers, providers and advocates, to find a commonsense solution to what is a dismally manufactured crisis.”


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