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.