March 2017

BREAKING-ICE Shooting and Sessions’ Comments Make Clearer Than Ever: Illinois Must Be a Sanctuary State

Gov. Rauner Must Stand Up to GOP Persecution of Immigrants; HB 3099 Deserves Support

CHICAGO-Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Executive Vice President Greg Kelley in response to threats to sanctuary status for Chicago by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the wake of a shooting early Monday during an immigration raid.

“Illinois is an immigrant state and is in greater danger than ever with the Donald Trump presidency, where we see the vicious bigotry of his campaign transformed into the vicious bigotry of his administration.

“The comments today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatening billions of dollars in aid to already-cash-strapped Chicago because of its commitment to providing sanctuary for immigrants and refugees are despicable and should be condemned by Gov. Bruce Rauner. And while it is still too soon to know what happened during the Immigration and Customs Enforcement shooting this morning in Chicago, we DO know that the Trump administration is eager to scapegoat migrants in a manner unworthy of our nation’s and our state’s history.

“In both the campaign phase of Donald Trump’s attack on immigrants and now during his presidency, Bruce Rauner has sat largely silent while the fuel has been piled. He and Republican leaders need to speak out now before irreversible damage is done.

“House Bill 3099, which would make all of Illinois a sanctuary for migrants and refugees and build trust with local law enforcement, is an important step in standing up to a persecution led by the Trump administration that is unmooring our nation from its values, destroying families and stoking the flames of hatred and fear that divide us.

“Our union stands in solidarity with immigrants and refugees, who make immeasurable economic and civic contributions to the State of Illinois. It’s time for Bruce Rauner to stand up for them as well.”

 

 

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Watch Video: Northwestern Hospital Workers “March on the Boss” to Deliver $15 Balloons, Fight For a Fair Contract!

(March 14th, 2017) — This afternoon scores of Northwestern Hospital workers marched on the boss to demand a fair contract and a bigger slice of the pie, instead of meager crumbs during bargaining.group_shot_NMH_delegation_march_on_boss_15_balloons_pie_delivery_03_14_17

Despite Northwestern’s billions of dollars in financial assets and revenue, management offered a disgusting level of raises of .25 cents an hour and wants to continue to pay poverty level wages to new hires. Northwestern needs to respect our union and recognize that OUR WORK MATTERS!

Northwestern Hospital Workers “March on the Boss” to Deliver $15 Balloons to Demand a Fair Contract

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SEIU Healthcare Missouri Member Robert Brown Testifies in Support of St. Louis Minimum Wage Increase

Robert Brown testifying in front of the Senate City & Municipal Government Committee about HB1193-1194.

Robert Brown testifying in front of the Senate City & Municipal Government Committee about HB 1193-1194.

St. Louis nursing home worker Robert Brown recently traveled to Jefferson City to testify against the Missouri General Assembly’s efforts to diminish local control and eliminate the St. Louis minimum wage increase. Read his moving testimony below.

Robert BrownMy name is Robert Brown and I have been a Housekeeper in a St. Louis nursing home for ten years now. I work hard to ensure that our residents have a safe and clean environment to live in, and I do it with a smile on my face day in and day out.

Some days it is hard to keep that smile on my face though. After ten years of service, I earn only $9/hour. I still cannot afford to rent an apartment, so I have rented a room for several years in a boarding house. I constantly have to make difficult decisions because of the low wage that I earn – do I buy groceries or do I put gas in my car so I can get to work? There are no easy answers and there are tens of thousands of workers in Missouri that are in the same position as me.

When news broke that the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the minimum wage increase in St. Louis, I was overwhelmed with hope and took a small sigh of relief in knowing that soon I would earn $10/hour and that it would ease the burden a little. And then to think that starting in 2018 I would earn $11/hour – these stood to be the two largest raises that I ever received in my life.

No one is going to get rich off of these increases, and it’s certainly not going to solve all of the problems that low wage workers like me face – but, that extra dollar an hour will be money that I will invest right back into our local economy. It will mean I can buy food and gas, not food or gas. It will mean that I can afford the trip to Reavis Barracks Cemetery to visit my mother’s grave. Maybe I can even start to save a little bit here and there so when life happens – things like an unexpected vehicle repair or if my microwave breaks – it won’t be a catastrophe for me financially like it is now.

I’m here today to say to our state lawmakers, please don’t pull the rug out from under workers like me. Instead of talking about ways to undercut local initiatives to raise the minimum wage, we should be talking about a statewide minimum wage increase to lift up all Missourians.

People who get up and go to work each day shouldn’t have to struggle so hard to survive, and this minimum wage increase will go a long way for those of us in St. Louis. Please do the right thing for Missouri workers and stop efforts to eliminate the St. Louis minimum wage increase. Thank you for your time and for hearing my testimony on this important issue.

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Senator Biss, Representative Welch Join Alzheimer’s Association, Nursing Home Workers and Other Resident Advocates in Call for Solution to Improper Discharges of Long-Term Residents and Chronic Short Staffing

SPRINGFIELD—This week, Senator Daniel Biss joined Representative Chris Welch and multiple advocates of long-term care recipients for a press conference announcing crucial legislation addressing the pressing problems of improper discharges and of woefully insufficient facility staffing levels.

Their solution—SB 1624 and HB 3392—would protect the growing number of long-term care residents currently being abandoned in hospital psychiatric units and provide the necessary penalties to enforce legally-required staffing levels, saving lives and greatly enhancing quality of life for long-term care residents.

Multiple speakers stressed that the new legislation simply enforces the staffing levels set in 2010 by leveling penalties against short-staffing facilities equal to the amount of wages they are “saving” by failing to staff at required levels.

“What we now know today is that many nursing homes simply are not following the law, and are threatening the safety of seniors and people with disabilities by understaffing the nursing homes,” said State Senator Daniel Biss. “It’s unacceptable and today – it ends.

“Illinois leads the nation in the improper discharge of long-term care residents – in many instances, abandoning seniors with Alzheimer’s and individuals with disabilities to hospital psychiatric units,” said State Representative Chris Welch.

Licensed practical nurse, Tabetha Oster, gave a caregiver’s perspective of the short staffing that’s prevalent at over a third of Illinois nursing homes, and which contributes to the practice of involuntary discharge. She noted that “it’s not uncommon for CNAs to be responsible for 15 or more residents each and for LPNs to be responsible for 30 or more.” When contrasted with the 3.8 hours of daily direct care per resident mandated by landmark Illinois legislation passed in 2010, she said, the gap is startling. “Illinois nursing homes are shorting residents out of over 9 million hours of care.”

Andrew Kretschmar, Senior Manager for the Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter Network spoke to the role the bill would play for people afflicted with the disease. “For over a year the Alzheimer’s Association has advocated for this legislation because we know this law will stop the unfair treatment of people with Alzheimer’s in Illinois. Between 2011 and 2015, the number of nursing home beds in the state of Illinois decreased by 7%, in that same time the number of complaints of improper discharges leading to hospital abandonment increased 158%. The math just doesn’t add up. Some of these facilities are self-reporting understaffing upwards of 50% – certainly the care of residents in those facilities is suffering. Today we’re doing something about it. If passed, these bills will change the lives of thousands of Illinoisans living with Alzheimer’s residing in long-term care settings.”

Samantha Olds-Frey, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of Medicaid Health Plans discussed the need for the bill at a time of state budget crisis. “Savings will be generated by this policy by decreasing unnecessary and medically inappropriate hospitalizations. Hospitalizations, by the way, that cost roughly seven times the cost of an average nursing home stay.”

Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Jamie Freschi, shared background on the issue of improper discharge. “Eviction/Discharge complaints, including ‘hospital dumps,’ received by the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program have more than doubled since 2011 and are by far the number one complaint investigated by Illinois Ombudsmen.  Senate Bill 1624 and House Bill 3392 provide long overdue penalties for improper discharges and tighten loop holes that currently allow facilities to circumvent the rules making it far too easy for facilities to abandon vulnerable residents in locations where their needs cannot be met.

Jerry Rabbe, whose mother was discharged without advanced warning from a nursing facility especially designed for patients with Alzheimer’s, spoke to both the personal and financial cost of the practice. “My mother was moved from one home to the next as if she were cattle,” he said. “Over the course of two years, my Mom saw the inside of five assisted living and nursing home facilities, and the inside of the St. Johns Hospital psych-unit. As she was a recipient of Medicaid, I can’t imagine what this cost the State of Illinois.

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BREAKING: Partisan JCAR Vote Approves Dangerous DHS Overtime Policy Despite Outcry from Stakeholders

Thousands of People with Disabilities and Caregivers Face Uncertain Future under Inflexible Policy that Undermines Consumer Control & Federal Overtime Laws

Springfield – In a vote along party lines, republican members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted to approve Governor Bruce Rauner’s DHS Overtime Policy. Over the last year, people with disabilities, their caregivers, and advocates have SEIU HC logo (cmyk)warned about the devastating affects this misguided policy would have on the lives of consumers and workers in the DHS Home Services Program (HSP). Despite the outcry from stakeholders, Bruce Rauner and DHS refused to meet with those impacted and instead stayed the course to implement their rules.

Following is statement on behalf of Access Living, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the JCAR vote:

“Today, thousands of people with disabilities and personal assistants in the DHS Home Services Program were abandoned by republiAccessLiving Logocan JCAR members. Hundreds of phone calls, emails, and personal letters were submitted to JCAR prior to their vote highlighting the problems with this policy. Instead of heeding the warnings, republican JCAR members voted to undermine the strength of the Home Services Program and the independence of people with disabilities.

“No one won today with this unfortunate vote – not people with disabilities, not personal assistants, and certainly not Illinois taxpayers. The minor cost-savings projected from this misguided policy will be completely negated if only 182 individuals with disabilities are forced into more costly nursing home care as a result, stripping them of their dignity and independence and leaving Illinois taxpayers to foot the bill.

“Our coalition vows to continue the fight against this terrible policy and our commitment to reaching a fair agreement that will protect the health and safety of people with disabilities remains.”

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Senators Duckworth & Durbin Join Growing Chorus Against Rauner Overtime Cuts

DurbinDuckworthHomeCareLetter

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SEIU Missouri/Kansas State Council Director Jake Olson Responds to the Results of Tonight’s Democratic Primary for Mayor of St. Louis

St. Louis – The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Missouri/Kansas State Council Director Jake Olson:

“Tonight’s extremely tight results in the race for mayor surprised those who had written off this contest weeks ago. But it didn’t surprise the janitors, home care and healthcare workers, higher education faculty, and public sector workers of SEIU, who poured countless hours of work into Treasurer Tishaura Jones’ campaign and proudly supported her vision for a better St. Louis.

“Tonight’s results show there is a hunger for a true progressive agenda for St. Louis, one that raises wages for working people, values black lives, and makes our city fairer for everyone, not just the wealthy and well-connected.

“Thank you to Treasurer Jones for lifting up a powerful message of economic and racial justice for St. Louis, and congratulations to Alderman Lyda Krewson on her victory this evening.”

 

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Watch Video: Northwestern Memorial Hospital Workers March on the Boss in Fight for $15 / 15%

(Tuesday, March 7th, 2017) — Northwestern Hospital workers organized a massive delegation to deliver a large petition board, signed by hundreds of employees, to Dean Manheimer, the Senior Vice-President of Human Resources at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

In addition, nearly 400 hundred Northwestern workers posed with rally signs to create a massive display showcasing our power and demands for “Affordable Healthcare Now” and a starting wage of $15 an hour and 15% across the board increases!

In 2015 NMH reported $9.7 billion in total financial assets, and $4.4 billion in revenue. But despite NMH’s enormous financial success, the wealth has not trickled down to our pay checks. As workers head back to negotiate our contract we’re showing our strength at the bargaining table!

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Free Child Care for All, Increased Pay for Child Care Providers to be Demanded at International Women’s Day Rally

Child Care providers to offer forward-looking vision for working women while also fighting back against War on Women by Rauner, Trump, and the Republicans

Chicago, IL -Chicago, IL – In the spirit of International Women’s Day, local community and labor organizations will hold a 7 p.m. indoor rally at the Chicago Teacher’s Union Hall, on Wednesday, March 8, to celebrate those who have been leading the fight for women’s rights.

Among the featured speakers for the event is Faith Arnold, a veteran child care provider from Chicago and a SEIU Healthcare Illinois member. Arnold is also a leader in the Bright Futures Chicago campaign, a movement of parents and providers calling for free universal child care for working mothers and their families. Arnold will also speak to the need to boost the pay of childcare providers, 95% of which are women. She’ll also outline the War on Women that Bruce Rauner, Donald Trump, and Republicans in Congress have been waging.

WHO: Women. Workers. Labor & Community Organizations. Faith leaders. Families. Children.

WHAT: International Women’s Day Rally in Solidarity with Women’s Struggles All Over the World featuring speakers, singers, dancers, poets, dj.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 2017; 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Chicago Teacher’s Union Hall, 1901 W. Carroll Ave.

WHY: To celebrate International Women’s Day, build a new women’s movement and to continue the fight against the oppression of women

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Community and Labor Organizations Unite For International Women’s Day Rally, To Build A New Women’s Movement

 

Women, Workers Join Together to Celebrate All Inclusive Womens Rights Event to Continue Fight Against Oppression of Women

CHICAGO – In the spirit of International Women’s Day, local community and labor organizations will hold a 7 p.m. indoor rally on Wednesday, March 8, to celebrate those who have been leading the fight for women’s rights. As an event organized by and for women, the coalition plans to play a part in building an all-inclusive women’s rights movement—for all women who have been marginalized and silenced.

Working women, women of color, Native women, women with disabilities, immigrant women, Muslim women, lesbian, queer and trans women will gather in solidarity to speak out about the issues of anti-racism, low wage workers’ rights, reproductive freedom, union rights, LGBTQ rights, women’s equality and more. A line up of speakers from participating organizations will share with each other the struggles of all working women as it relates to the oppression women are facing around the world.

 

The evening rally will be one of politics and culture. It will also feature a dj and performances by spoken word poets, singers, praise dancers, and a church choir (comprised of immigrants and refugees).

WHO: Women. Workers. Labor & Community Organizations. Faith leaders. Families. Children.

WHAT: International Women’s Day Rally in Solidarity with Women’s Struggles All Over the World featuring speakers, singers, dancers, poets, dj.

WHEN: Wednesday, March 8, 2017; 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Chicago Teacher’s Union Hall, 1901 W. Carroll Ave.

WHY: To celebrate International Women’s Day, build a new women’s movement and to continue the fight against the oppression of women

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Co a lition Endorsements: Chi cago Teachers Union, Arab American Action Network, Chicago Socialists – ISO, Chicago Alliance

Against Racist and Political Repression, Chicago Democratic Socialists of America, Fight For 15 Chicago, Freedom Road Socialist

Organization, GABRIELA USA, Grassroots Collaborative, Haymarket Books, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, Solidarity: A

Socialist Feminist Organization, United Working Families, Women’s Desk Fellowship for Filipino Migrants, Anakbayan Chicago

 

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