Hello sisters and brothers:
Today is my first full day on the job as President of SEIU Healthcare IL, IN, MO, KS and I’m excited for our bright future.
We have so much going on in all our industries and with all our fights and I’m eager to get to work, so I’ll keep this short.
I recorded a brief message today during my first day on the job that I thought you might want to take a look at.
Meanwhile, I just wanted to thank you for your confidence; give a thank you to Keith Kelleher for the mentorship he’s shown me; give a thank you to our new leadership team, which includes a rank-and-file leader like myself in new executive vice president Faith Arnold; and to give a thank you for your work and enthusiasm.
I aim to serve the best interests of you, our members. It’s my intention to wake up every morning to fight on behalf of all of you and to go to bed every night thinking about how I can fight stronger the next day.
So as we move forward in confronting the challenges ahead of us, I challenge all of us to fight stronger, fight louder, and fight bigger. Because when we fight, we win.
First African American to head the largest local union in the Midwest
CHICAGO–SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri and Kansas (HCIIMK) announced today the election of Greg Kelley as president along with executive team members Faith Arnold, Executive Vice President, and Maggie Laslo, Secretary-Treasurer.
Kelley, whose first full day in office is today, will lead the union, which represents 90,000 healthcare, child care, nursing home and home healthcare workers in the four states and is the largest in the Midwest region.
Former President Keith Kelleher, who opted not to run for re-election after 37 years in the labor movement and decades at the helm of leadership of the union, congratulated Kelley on his election and will continue to work in a leadership position with the organization. Kelleher has served as president of SEIU Local 880, president of SEIU HCIIMK after a merger, as well as a vice president of the international union.
Kelley’s 20-plus years of labor experience includes working in the Cook County Clerk’s office, where he organized co-workers to improve workplace conditions prior to becoming an organizer at SEIU Local 46. He later served as political director and secretary treasurer of the hospital union SEIU Local 20. After the merger of Locals 4 (nursing homes), 20 and 880 (home care and child care), along with members in Missouri and Kansas, to make HCIIMK, Kelley first assumed the position of director of the Healthcare Division and later as executive vice president. He also is a member of SEIU’s international executive board.
Said Kelley: “I am honored and humbled by the confidence placed in me by the members of our union. I am up to the challenges ahead of leading this great union and continuing the work of winning for our members and working people throughout our states. I have big shoes to fill, as President Kelleher has guided our union well throughout the ups and downs of the struggles we’ve waged on behalf of members.
“I look forward to working with Keith and benefiting from his wisdom and experience as we strive to lift wages, workplace conditions for working people and bring dignity and respect for our members in their communities and their places of employment.”
Kelleher said: “When I decided not to run for re-election so that new leadership can rise and lead in this pivotal moment for our union, our state and our country, I could think of no one better than Greg Kelley to continue what we’ve started.
“I’ve known Greg for many years and we’ve stood side-by-side in far too many battles to mention in the fight for working families. I’m honored to continue to work with Greg in any capacity that would best utilize my experience to help develop future leaders of the labor movement.”
SPRINGFIELD – By a broad majority, the House this week sent a bill to study the state of the early childhood education and child care workforce to the Senate, as low wages continue to plague the industry.
Sponsored in the House by Rep. Julianna Stratton and in the Senate by Jacqueline Collins, the study authorized by House Bill 3167 would make recommendations on compensation and provider rates, including in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
While CCAP has been devastated by administrative cuts under the Bruce Rauner administration, low pay continues to play a negative role, with licensed family care providers earning only $5.05 per hour. Meanwhile, early childhood center workers make an average of between $9.98 and $12.36 per hour.
The bill passed to the Senate by a margin of 63-47.
HCII VP Jaquie Algee and home care worker Inga Gorens spoke yesterday at the Women’s March on Springfield. Below are their remarks.
Remarks by Jaquie Algee, Director of External Relations
Hello, my name is Jaquie Algee.
I am director of external relations for SEIU Healthcare Illinois and I want to welcome all of you to the Women’s March on Springfield.
It was only three months ago that we came together on a beautiful January day in Grant Park to stand up and turn out.
A lot of us were filled then with fear and despair but we drew strength from one another and not just in the size of our crowds, but in the justice of our cause.
This state and this nation have been through quite a bit in these last several months.
We have seen the rights of women, of people of color, of unions, of immigrants, of transgendered and gay and lesbian people, all come under attack.
We have seen corruption and ugliness of the type that we thought was long removed from our political process.
We have seen so much effort put into tearing down instead of building up.
We have seen the work of our foremothers attacked, ripped at and spit upon.
But we have seen something else, too.
We have seen a new movement, a new energy that is sweeping our state and our nation.
Here in Illinois, we have seen women and allies just like you stand up to attacks on workers’ rights, on women’s rights.
From Cairo to the Quad Cities, from Alton to Waukegan and at points in between, you have come out to tell people like Bruce Rauner, to tell people like Donald Trump, NOT ON OUR WATCH.
You’ll hear today about a wide range of issues that are important to the women of Illinois, but which are united by the belief that the way to take Illinois forward, to take our country forward, is based on decency and collaboration, not fear and anger.
That we women who are your mothers, your sisters, your grandmothers, your wives, are not done marching, not by a long shot….
Remarks by Inga Gorens, Home Care Worker
Hello. My name is Inga Gorens and I am a certified nursing assistant.
I’ve been in this line of work for 15 years.
When I started, I made $9 per hour.
Today I make $9.25 per hour.
In 15 years, the cost for everything else has gone up, but not my pay.
I do what some people used to call “women’s work.”
Low wages for women are a built-in part of this economy. Child care. Home care. Health care.
All of these are professions dominated by women. All of these are professioins dominated by low pay.
This means some pretty terrible choices.
This means standing at the gas pump trying to figure out whether I can get gas or food.
More than 46 percent of women in Illinois make less than $15 per hour.
There’s a bill right now in the House of Representatives to raise the wage to $15 by 2022.
House Bill 198 would help workers like me get a little bit of economic security in a market that has relied too long on the cheap labor of women.
Bruce Rauner has said he will not support the bill. This is the same Bruce Rauner who makes makes $90,000 per hour.
Rauner himself has made a living exploiting the cheap labor of women so it makes sense that he would oppose anything to raise the wage.
But women aren’t going to stand back and let people like him CONTINUE to take advantage of our cheap labor.
Women like me are going to fight for $15, we’re going to fight for our union rights and we’re going to fight to make sure that “women’s work” is never again disrespected.
St. Louis Workers Thank Mayor Krewson for Championing Full and Immediate Implementation of City Minimum Wage Law Missouri Supreme Court Rejected Last-Ditch Legal Attack on St. Louis City Minimum Wage Increase
ST. LOUIS — St. Louis workers are celebrating Tuesday’s ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court to clear the way for full and immediate implementation of the city’s law to increase the minimum wage from $7.65 to $10 an hour.
“Mayor Lyda Krewson was one of the key leaders in getting this minimum wage increase passed by the Board of Aldermen in 2015,” said Lenny Jones, Director of SEIU Healthcare Missouri. “And with this week’s Supreme Court ruling, we’re done with the delays. I’m glad Mayor Krewson and her team are moving quickly to ensure that workers start getting their raises immediately.”
The minimum wage goes from $7.65 to $10 initially for workers employed within the City of St. Louis. The law also puts in place an increase to $11 on January 1, 2018.
Rauner’s Cuts to the Community Care Program
The good news is that Rauner cannot unilaterally implement these changes and we are ready to fight back with our seniors and their advocates!
The seniors who Rauner is targeting are those who are not on Medicaid so those are the seniors we are looking for to get involved and speak out to save their home care services. If the senior you care for is not on Medicaid and wants to join the fight to protect the Community Care Program, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 and let them know so we can follow up with you and your senior.
HB 198: Raising the Illinois Minimum Wage to $15/hour
Attend one of our upcoming membership meetings to learn more about our campaigns to protect the Community Care Program and to win a $15/hour minimum wage statewide!
Chicago: Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. at our union office located at 2229 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL.
Peoria: Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. at our union office located at 400 N.E. Jefferson, Peoria, IL.
Metro East: Saturday, April 29 at 11 a.m. at our union office located at 449 N. 33rd Street, East St. Louis, IL.