April 2017

Over 5,000 Chicagoland Nursing Home Workers Announce Strike for Fair Wages, Patient Care

Largest Nursing Home Strike in U.S. History to Begin Next Week; Workers Across 57 Homes Have Been Without Contract for Over a Year

Pledge Your Support For Chicagoland Nursing Workers On Strike

Nursing Home Workers marching_580

CHICAGO — Representatives of more than 5,000 nursing home workers across 53 nursing homes in Chicagoland and beyond will announce their plans to strike next week over fair wages, staffing levels that ensure quality care for residents, and dignity on the job regardless of immigration status. Workers have been negotiating in good faith for a permanent contract for more than a year. Dozens of unfair labor practice (ULP) complaints have been filed against nursing homes for refusing to provide information legally required for good faith bargaining as well as other violations of the National Labor Relations Act.

Despite receiving about $1 billion in revenue each year and an increasing number of residents, for-profit nursing home owners have refused to significantly raise staffing levels and are refusing to pay wages above the Chicago minimum wage. Illinois nursing home owners come under heightened scrutiny for improper patient discharges and inadequate staffing care.

This official public strike announcement will take place before the Union and Illinois Association of Health Care Facilities will return to the table later the same day for the last scheduled contract negotiations.  A federal mediator will attend the negotiations.

Pledge Your Support For Chicagoland Nursing Workers On Strike

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A Message from Newly Elected President Greg Kelley

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.

Solidarity forever.

-Greg

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Greg Kelley elected president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri & Kansas

First African American to head the largest local union in the Midwest

Greg Kelley Headshot pink wall centeredCHICAGO–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.”

Maggie Greg Faith

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.”

Greg and Keith Shaking Hands

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House Majority Sends Bill to Study State of Early Childhood Workforce to Senate

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.

ILL Lobby Day 3-21-2013

ILL Lobby Day 3-21-2013

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HCII Members Speak Out at Women’s March on Springfield

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

Algee Womens March Windy City

Photo Credit: Hal Baim and Vern Hester for Windy City Times. Click photo to see more.

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

Inga Gorens - Windy City Media

Photo Credit: Hal Baim and Vern Hester for Windy City Times. Click photo to see more.

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.

Thank you.

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BREAKING: Missouri Supreme Court Clears Way for St. Louis Minimum Wage Implementation

Victory for STL Workers

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.

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“It’s Fearful” As House Bill 198 Goes Before Full House, Stories of Struggle from All Corners of Illinois from Low-Wage Workers

$15 Minimum Wage Seen as Help to Imperiled Local Economies

After a two—day press tour with the legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Will Guzzardi, stories were pouring in from throughout the state from workers who are struggling to make ends meet as House Bill 198, legislation to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, faces an upcoming vote.

CARBONDALE

Home care worker Ashley Baugher was quoted in the The Southern Illinoisan saying she was “fearful” all the time for the economic security of her four children:

“I know I’m not the only one, of course, but there are too many of us here who cannot make our bills each month…We are always scared about being kicked out of our house, having our car taken away.”

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CHAMPAIGN

Rep. Carol Ammons joined Guzzardi and heard from workers who confronted the myth put forward by business groups that low-wage jobs are merely for people just entering the workforce. They were joined by 67-year-old home care worker Diana Inman of Decatur, who works two jobs and was quoted by WILL about her prospects for retirement:

“If I could get up to $15 an hour, I could drop one of those jobs, and leave it open for somebody else…But with the economy, I’ve got to work two jobs just to pay my bills.”

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PEORIA

Speaking at a rally, Quavlin Moore, single mother of four, told attendees that $15 an hour means more money in her pocket for basic necessities like groceries and new shoes for her children.

“A lot of people that I live around locally, we’re all in the same spot,” Moore said, according to a report from WNIJ. “We’re doing more and more and more and more, and it feels like we’re not going anywhere.”

Robin Sledge, a home care worker, told NBC25 “A lot of families are combining together because they just cant afford the cost living for rent and the food.”

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METRO EAST

In East St. Louis, the district of State Representative LaToya Greenwood of East Saint Louis, a co-sponsor of the bill, home care worker Fazio Beverly told KMOX News Radio about HER struggle trying to make ends meet on $10 an hour.

“Giving us $15 an hour isn’t going to make us rich, isn’t going to put us on a level with Trump, it’s not going to put us with Governor Rauner, it’s just going to help us offset some of the expense we endure of being a home care provider and trying to help others that need us.”

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Rep. Greenwood, who joined Guzzardi and Beverly, called $15 an hour “the humane thing to do.”

 

SPRINGFIELD

Rep. Guzzardi told reporters and attendees at an event near the Capitol that the bill would put more money in the wallets of workers, who would then inject more money into the local economy.

“We’re gonna put money in the pockets of working people who are going to turn around and spend it. These are not people who are going to put money in Wall Street transactions or overseas bank accounts. These are people who are going to spend that money on groceries, going out to restaurants, buying new clothes for their children. This is money that’s going to go right into our community.”

For home care workers like Gail Hamilton, that means being able to make ends meet. Hamilton told WCIA:

“I don’t make enough money with the company I work for to pay all my monthly bills, all the ‘have to’s.’

Fellow home care worker Sherry Morris said:

I don’t get how we can work harder and get such low wages…it’s below the poverty line.”

Sprfld F15 Tour Group Shot 2

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April 18 Telephone Town Hall Discussion Summary for Illinois Home Care Aides

Rauner’s Cuts to the Community Care Program

  • Bruce Rauner has announced his intent to cut the Community Care Program by $120 million dollars. These cuts would move 36,000 seniors who are not on Medicaid out of the program and instead put them in a new, untested program called the Community Reinvestment Program.
  • From what we’ve heard so far, this Community Reinvestment Program will be a disaster for our seniors. Instead of a senior having their trusted home care aide around to do their laundry, help with housekeeping, to prepare healthy meals, and for transportation to and from doctor’s appointments, Rauner wants our seniors to deal with a revolving door of service providers.
  • Rauner says that instead of paying a home care aide to be there it will be cheaper to have a laundry service come in, and then a separate cleaning service. Seniors would receive meal vouchers instead of a home cooked meal, and Rauner wants them to take an uber to the doctor.
  • If Rauner gets his way, all seniors in the Community Care Program who are not on Medicaid will be impacted. This means that the home care aides that serve those seniors will also see their hours drastically cut.

The good news is that Rauner cannot unilaterally implement these changes and we are ready to fight back with our seniors and their advocates!

  • Rauner has submitted his proposal to the lawmakers on the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules or JCAR. These are the state senators and state representatives who approve or deny new rules in the state. Through the JCAR process there will be public hearings and opportunities to submit comments via mail and email to both the Department of Aging and to JCAR members directly.
  • It’s vital that we use every opportunity available to voice our concerns about the governor’s plans and also make the public aware of what he’s trying to do.
  • Hundreds of home care aides are going down to Springfield next Wednesday, April 26 to urge lawmakers to protect the Community Care Program and to support our bill for $15/hour.

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

  • Last year our union successfully passed a bill out of the General Assembly that would have raised pay for home care aides in the Community Care Program to $15/hour. Both the House and the Senate supported that bill, but when it got to the governor’s desk, he vetoed it.
  • We just weren’t able to put enough pressure on Rauner to do the right thing and sign that bill to raise home care aide wages. But, we’re coming back this year with a wider coalition and a bill that will raise pay for all Illinois workers to $15/hour by 2022.
  • By fighting to raise the minimum wage for everyone, we are including even more Illinoisans in our fight. There are 2.3 million Illinois workers who earn less than $15/hour right now and if we all unite together, Governor Rauner won’t be able to veto this bill too. House Bill 198 will raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2022, with the first increase to $9 an hour in 2018.
  • HB 198 has already passed out of committee in the House, and we expect the full Illinois House of Representatives to vote on the bill soon – possibly the last week of April or the first week of May.
  • Our state economy is struggling and putting more money into the pockets of low-wage workers will give us the boost we need. Those of us who earn below $15/hour tend to spend more of our incomes on basic needs like groceries, bills, gas, and medicine. This will lead to an increase in consumer spending, which will drive growth across the economy.
  • Right now productivity and corporate profits are at a record high. If the minimum wage had kept up with these gains then it would be $18.50/hour today! But unfortunately, the reality is that nearly everyone who works for a living, except for the top 1%, have not received a fair share of profits that they’ve helped to create.
  • We’re going to all have to work together and get our friends, family, and neighbors involved in this fight. We have to create enough pressure on Governor Rauner so that he does not have the option to veto this bill. The governor is up for re-election in 2018 so we must make him feel like his campaign would be threatened by vetoing a minimum wage increase and that will take a huge public campaign.

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.

 

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$15 Minimum Wage Statewide Tour to Highlight HB 198 Benefit to Local Communities & New Analysis; Budget Fix

Carbondale, Champaign, Peoria, Springfield, East St. Louis Among Stops

MEDIA ADVISORY: April 19, 20
Logo 15forILFuture 580SPRINGFIELD-As House Bill 198 goes to vote in the full House of Representatives, a statewide press tour will highlight the benefits of a raise in the minimum wage to $15 using new analysis and featuring the legislation’s sponsor, Rep. Will Guzzardi.

Over Wednesday and Thursday this week, the tour will visit Champaign, Peoria, Carbondale, East St. Louis and Springfield (times and locations below).

More than 40 percent of the Illinois workforce earns less than $15 per hour, leading to chronic poverty and costing taxpayers because of the required public assistance. The new analysis shows that a raise in the wage floor would generate billions of dollars in new revenue and help ease the ongoing budget crisis.

“”We need to fix our economy by improving the quality of life of working people, not padding the bottom lines of huge corporations,” Guzzardi said. “House Bill 198 will help lift millions of hard-working people out of poverty and kickstart growth in our state.”

Paul Sonn, program director of the National Employment Law Project, who contributed to the new analysis, said:

“From Carbondale to Champaign, from East St. Louis to Rockford, across Illinois large percentages of each community’s workforce make wages where it is impossible to make ends meet. A phased-in raise to $15 by 2022 would benefit the health and well-being of the very towns and cities that grow the Illinois economy, give these workers a shot at entering the middle class and relieve the tax burden of communities who are subsidizing low-wage employers.

Said Rep. Carol Ammons, who will participate in the Champaign event on Wednesday, April 19, in Champaign:

“Raising the minimum wage isn’t just a Chicago issue or a fast-food issue. It’s an Illinois issue and it’s vital to every part of our state.”

Said Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks, CEO of Earth Friendly Products in Addison:

“Having manufactured in Illinois for 50 years, we know that raising the minimum wage to $15 will help businesses and employees thrive. Paying a living wage has improved our bottom line: our voluntary turnover rate is extremely low, our productivity has increased, and our profits continue to grow.”

Said Robert Olson, Owner of Olson & Associates in Springfield, Washington And Lombard:

“Raising the minimum wage is a kind of insurance for both businesses and workers. It will enable workers to make ends meet and it will boost the consumer spending that drives business and strengthens the economy.”

 

$15 FOR ILLINOIS’ FUTURE MINIMUM WAGE RAISE TOUR

 

PEORIA

 

WHAT: $15 Minimum Wage State Tour

WHEN: Wednesday, April 19, 12:30 p.m.

WHERE: Labor Temple, 400 NE Jefferson St., Peoria

WHO: Rep. Will Guzzardi, workers

 

CHAMPAIGN

 

WHAT: $15 Minimum Wage State Tour

WHEN: Wednesday, April 19, 4 p.m.

WHERE: Office of Rep. Carol Ammons, 407. E. University Ave., Suite A, Champaign

WHO. Reps. Carol Ammons, Will Guzzardi, workers

 

CARBONDALE

 

WHAT: $15 Minimum Wage State Tour

WHEN: Thursday, April 20, 10 a.m.

WHERE: Township Hall, 216 E. Monroe St., Carbondale

WHO: Rep. Will Guzzardi, workers

 

EAST ST. LOUIS

 

WHAT: $15 Minimum Wage State Tour

WHEN: Thursday, April 20, 1:30 p.m.

WHERE: East St. Louis Public Library, 5300 State St., East St. Louis

WHO: Reps. LaToya Greenwood, Will Guzzardi, workers

 

SPRINGFIELD

 

WHAT; $15 Minimum Wage State Tour

WHEN: Thursday, April 20, 5 p.m.

WHERE: SEIU Healthcare Illinois offices, 701 S. 2nd St., Springfield

WHO: Rep. Will Guzzardi, workers

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BREAKING-Rauner Opposition to Wage Increase Reflects Desire for Cheap Labor Economy

House Bill 198 Gaining Momentum in Illinois

CHICAGO-Following is the response of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Communications Director James Muhammad to news that Gov. Bruce Rauner today voiced opposition to raising the Illinois wage floor, even as momentum grows to raise it to $15, via House Bill 198:

“When he opposes raising the wage for Illinois workers, Bruce Rauner continues to describe his belief that labor should be cheap and that workers are not central to the health of our economy. He paid for his many mansions via the profits from cheap labor and yet he wants to deny any economic security to the working families of Illinois? This is wrong and hypocritical.

“The Rauner budget impasse has slowed growth in Illinois and the quickest way to put money back into the economy is to give a raise to the 2.3 million Illinois workers, more than 40 percent of the workforce, who make less than $15 per hour and who would benefit from passage of House Bill 198.

“As Gov. Rauner dismantles education, healthcare, social services and all the tools that helped grow the Illinois middle class from the bottom up in the first place, we hope he abandons his trickle-down opposition to raising the wage floor for the women and men who work hard while others, like him, reap the profits of the sweat of their brow.”

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RELATED

Sun Times: Rauner admits he once favored eliminating minimum wage https://archive.li/Shb7f

Rauner Adamantly, Adamantly Against Raising the Minimum Wage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXexTe_yj88

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