July 2017

Home Care Aides Win in Illinois State Budget!

Following the devastating two-year budget impasse, the Illinois General Assembly finally approved a new state budget after voting to override Governor Rauner’s veto.

So much damage has already been done, but we are finally getting our state back on track. Home care aides and seniors have a lot to celebrate in this budget and it’s thanks to the tireless work of our members and allies throughout the impasse that we have these victories today:

  • We protected the Community Care Program from Governor Rauner’s plans to force 36,000 seniors into a new, untested program through a $120 million cut. Rauner’s plan would replace home care aides with uber drivers, meal vouchers, and a revolving door of strangers from laundry and housekeeping services. We have more work to do to stop Rauner’s attacks on our seniors for good, but this is great news in our fight to protect critical home care services for the elderly and to protect our jobs.
  • We won raises for home care aides statewide!
    • Raises for workers outside of Chicago: Home care aides employed through branch offices outside the City of Chicago will receive a $0.72 /hr. raise effective August 5, 2017.
    • Raises for workers in Chicago: Due to the city minimum wage increase to $11/hr. that took effect July 1, 2017, home care aides employed through branch offices within the City of Chicago that received the increase to $11/hr. will receive an additional $0.22/hr. effective August 5, 2017. Chicago home care aides who already earned $11/hr. or more on July 1, 2017, will receive a $0.72/hr. increase effective August 5, 2017.

While the raises we won are effective August 5, 2017, we still must negotiate with our employers to determine when those raises will appear on our paychecks. Elections for bargaining team members are underway statewide for each union agency and negotiations will commence soon!

If you have any questions about our raises, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348.

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Faith Leaders Pray for Gov. Rauner, Leaders to Stand Up to GOP Healthcare Overhaul

 

Call on Elected Officials to Hear the Cries of the People and Commit to a new Illinois Healthcare Covenant

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More photos from the event available via this Facebook link: https://goo.gl/7vMfSN

CHICAGO (July 18, 2017)—Religious leaders from major faith traditions today called on legislators in Congress to put a moral face on their approach to healthcare rather than the damaging efforts currently taken to destroy the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Last night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY.) announced his caucus’ intention to fully repeal the ACA effective two years from now.  The plan would also drastically cut Medicaid. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates a full repeal of the ACA will cause 32 million Americans – particularly seniors, children and people with disabilities – to lose health insurance.

The interdenominational prayer service — followed by a prayer procession to the James R. Thompson Center — also called on Gov. Bruce Rauner to speak out against Republican efforts.

“We are called to our pulpits to speak truth to power, to be a voice for the voiceless, to call the wayward back to the straight path,” said Rev. C.J. Hawking, executive director of Arise Chicago and pastor of the Euclid Avenue United Methodist Church, who emceed the event. “The effort in Congress to derail healthcare for millions of Americans is unconscionable. It is immoral. We, as Christians, Muslims, Jews and other faith traditions, will stand in the gap and send up prayers and use our feet to make our voices heard.”

The audience listened intently as Shirley Perez told a heart-wrenching story about her efforts to maintain care for her special needs child.

“When a lot of people think about this healthcare bill, they only think about going to the hospital or getting care for a pre-existing condition. For my daughter it is so much more, because she has a seizure disorder and is developmentally and intellectually disabled. She needs regular medical care, but she also needs long-term support and services. Thanks to Medicaid she has a medical home, she can get the medication and care she needs, and she can live her life how she wants in her own home. The current health care proposal will be detrimental to my daughter, to families, and to this whole country,” she said.

Among the faith leaders giving a prayer were Rabbi Brant Rosen of Tzedek Chicago, Father Thulani Magwaza, associate pastor at St. Sabina Catholic Church, Minister Jeffrey Muhammad of Mosque Maryam and Pastor Catherine Davis of the Church of God in Christ.

The leaders issued an Illinois Healthcare Covenant calling on legislators to “recommit to ensuring a system of care that is based on wellness; to protecting Medicaid … and to putting the immediate needs of our neighbors first, in the truest image of our all-loving Lord.”

At the Thompson Center, faith leaders laid hands on the building while saying prayers as the crowd behind them extended their hands in prayer toward the building.

Instead of seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, we believe that care should be strengthened and expanded to ensure that the most vulnerable in our midst are treated with the dignity and love that our faiths command, they said.

A broad coalition of healthcare, labor and grassroots groups organized the event, including: Trinity United Church of Christ; Southland Ministerial Alliance; St. Sabina Catholic Church; Protect Our Care Illinois; ACLU Illinois; Indivisible 123GO; ARISE Chicago; ATU Local 308; CAPS Inc; Chicago Teachers Union; Chicago Women Taking Action; Rainbow PUSH; Roseland Ceasefire; Chicago Coalition for the Homeless; SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana; Citizen Action/Illinois; Indivisible Illinois; Indivisible Chicago; Healthy Illinois; Friends Who March; Chicago Federation of Labor; Abundant Living; Flesh Becoming Word; Kingdom Crusaders; International Christian Assembly; Lights of Zion; Nehemiah Baptist Church; Joy Fellowship; C.O.G.I.C. Praise Tabernacle Deliverance Church; Victory Christian Assembly; Tzedek Chicago; Greater Roseland Chamber of Commerce; Women’s March Chicago.

Statements issued by religious leaders who participated:

Apostle Carl White Jr., Victory Christian Assembly

“As a man of faith, I am compelled to speak out for the poor, those who are disadvantaged and even those of means who need a voice to challenge the powerful. God has positioned us that each time Congress has tried to kill the Affordable Care Act the voices of the people rose up. I will continue to add my voice wherever there is a need for fairness and justice to prevail. I call on our elected officials to put compassion before profits in their deliberations around healthcare.”

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Rabbi Bryant Rosen, Tzedek Chicago

“Health care is a basic human right and providing health care is a sacred obligation. That is why as a Jew and a person of conscience I cannot remain silent when our government seeks to deny health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans. The pursuit of corporate profit at the expense of human lives is a sacrilege — and we are here to let our lawmakers know that the faith community will not let this stand.”

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Father Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church (statement sent by a representative):

“A famous quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. described injustice in health care as the most shocking and inhumane form of inequality. Today, we call on representatives in the U.S. Congress to cease and desist from this shocking and inhumane approach to health care. The approach of the Affordable Care Act is to allow access to healthcare to as many people as possible. The motivation for dismantling the Affordable Care Act is to create obstacles for people to have affordable health care and, quite simply, racist.”

Minister Jeffrey Muhammad, Mosque Maryam (statement sent by a representative):

“In the scriptures, both Bile and Holy Qur’an, Allah (God) speaks of the healing that is in the plants around us that He gives freely. There is healing even in the honey produced by the bee. Yet, representatives in Congress want to pass laws that make it difficult for people to get healthcare, particularly the most vulnerable in our communities – the elderly, children and people who are disabled. This is a sign of leadership that is in error.”

SEIU Healthcare VP Jaquie Algee on the phone with Governor Rauner's office, asking him to join other Governors in speaking out against GOP healthcare attacks

SEIU Healthcare VP Jaquie Algee on the phone with Governor Rauner’s office, asking him to join other Governors in speaking out against GOP healthcare attacks

 

 

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Photos from Illinois Health Care Covenant Event

William McNary, Co-director of Citizen Action/IL, addresses interfaith congregation about protecting healthcare from GOP attacks

William McNary, Co-director of Citizen Action/IL, addresses interfaith congregation about protecting healthcare from GOP attacks

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SEIU Healthcare VP Jaquie Algee on the phone with Governor Rauner's office, asking him to join other Governors in speaking out against GOP healthcare attacks

SEIU Healthcare VP Jaquie Algee on the phone with Governor Rauner’s office, asking him to join other Governors in speaking out against GOP healthcare attacks

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Participants lay hands on Thompson Center during prayer to urge Governor Rauner to protect the healthcare of millions of Illinois families

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Illinois Capitol

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Governor Rauner: I’m Worth More

We're worth more

 

Governor Rauner,

In the past, you’ve said you support a minimum wage increase, under certain requirements, but hospital workers need you to do more This isn’t a political issue, it’s about Illinois hospital workers being able to survive and support our families.

An increase to livable wages means food in my children’s mouths, a roof over our heads and a chance to finally get ahead — without the struggle and stress of knowing if my paycheck will stretch to the next day.

Governor Rauner: I’m worth $15/hour — and I’ve been in this fight for too long.

Stand with hospital workers today and raise the minimum wage.

Sincerely,

Your Name

 

 

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Stop the Community Reinvestment Program

The Community Reinvestment Program (CRP) seeks to force 36,000 vulnerable Illinois seniors into a precariously designed patchwork of untested and unreliable home care services. The CRP threatens seniors’ autonomy and wellbeing while undermining the immense value of homemaking and personal care providers. There are strong reasons the proposed CRP should not move forward:

  • It has been rejected by the General Assembly. The recently passed bipartisan budget forbids the use of Community Care Program funding for any program created solely by administrative rulemaking – i.e., the CRP.[i]
  • It should not pass JCAR review criteria. From the fact that the General Assembly previously rejected the CRP to the Department on Aging’s attempts to give itself vast amounts of undefined discretion, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) should find numerous flaws in the proposed rulemaking under its standard review criteria.[ii] Failing just one of these criteria subjects the rule to a more rigorous set of criteria that should prohibit the filing of the rule altogether.[iii]
  • Evidence basis is lacking. The Department on Aging has claimed without evidence that the CRP would save taxpayer dollars and benefit seniors. Despite claims that the CRP will cut $120 million from senior home care is just its first year, the Department has avoided specifics on how the cuts would be made while still supporting seniors living independently in their communities. And, contrary to the Department on Aging’s claims, the CRP remains untested. No senior or service provider could reasonably expect a smooth rollout, much less consistently reliable service delivery and internal processes.
  • Massive cuts to services seniors rely on are just wrong. The CRP represents an average cut of 31% in services for seniors. These would be subpar services that could be reduced or ceased at a moment’s notice if a vendor decided to terminate its contract or agreement, if the state did not provide adequate funding, or if the Department arbitrarily and capriciously decided to impose cuts. Stricter eligibility requirements would create a gap in which many seniors will be too “wealthy” for IDOA home care, but too poor to afford privately paid home care services. Many seniors would be placed at risk of institutionalization.

Older Illinoisans deserve good quality home care from trustworthy, tested providers and systems. We urge the Department on Aging to partake in ongoing, meaningful collaboration with all stakeholders to tackle issues resulting from the increasing demand of Community Care Program services. As a first step, IDOA must withdraw its proposed CRP rule.


 

[i] Public Act 100-0021, formerly SB 6

[ii] The House and Senate passed HB 1414 and HB 238, respectively, which essentially prohibit the establishment of the CRP or the separation of services for Medicaid and Medicaid-ineligible seniors.

[iii] By evaluating the proposed rule using criteria in 1 IAC 220.900, there are numerous “substantive” and “proprietary” issues that trigger the need to also evaluate the rule in accordance with 1 IAC 220.950, where the rule fails to pass basic standards.

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CHECK YOUR CHECK: Minimum Wage Increase & Sick Time in Cook County

Today is payday for many of us in Chicago and across Cook County.  For a lot of us, it’s the first payday since Chicago and Cook County’s minimum wage increases and paid sick time ordinances took effect on July 1st.

Together through our union and working with allies, we won this fight to get more money in our pockets for the hard work we do and time off to care for our families.  It’s a huge victory.

Here’s what you need to know.

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For workers in the city, the minimum wage has increased from $10.50 an hour to $11 an hour. By July 2019, the minimum wage will be $13 an hour.

Also, workers will earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, with a cap of 40 hours a year. A worker is eligible to use paid sick time after 6 months of employment. Workers can use sick time for an illness or injury, to care for a sick family member, to attend a medical appointment or a family member’s medical appointment, or if the worker or a family member is a victim of domestic abuse or sexual violence.
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Many cities and villages in Cook County outside of Chicago raised their minimum wage to $10.00 an hour, up from the state’s minimum wage of $8.25.   By July 2020, the minimum wage will be $13 an hour in those cities and villages. Also, just like Chicago, workers in these cities and village will earn 1 hour of paid sick time for every 40 hours worked, with a cap of 40 hours/ year.

(Click here to see which cities and towns in Cook County raised their minimum wage and allowed workers to get paid sick time)

An increase in the minimum wage and paid sick time are huge victories, but we’re not done yet.  Right now, there’s a bill to raise Illinois’ minimum wage to $15 an hour sitting on Governor Rauner’s desk.  We will continue to pressure him to sign it.

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Cook County Minimum Wage & Sick Time: Who’s in, Who’s Out

Cook County passed two ordinances that took effect July 1, 2017. One that raised the minimum wage and one that provided paid sick time.  However, the county allowed individual cities and village to opt out the pro-worker regulations. Below lets you know how each municipality acted.  Details on those minimum wage and paid sick time policies can be found here.

Municipalities that Kept Minimum Wage Increase and Paid Sick Time

Barrington Hills

Bedford Park

Berwyn

Burnham

Calumet City

Calumet Park

Country Club Hills

Countryside

Deer Park

Deerfield

Dixmoor

Dolton

Evanston

Flossmoor

Ford Heights

Forest View

Ford Heights

Forest View

Frankfort

Glencoe

Glenwood

Golf

Harvey

Hazel Crest

Hillside

Homer Glen

Hometown

Kenilworth

Lemont

Markham

Matteson

McCook

Merrionette

ParkNorthfield

Oak Park

Oak Brook

Olympia Fields

Park Forest

Posen

Phoenix

Richton Park

Riverdale

Robbins

Sauk Village

Skokie

Stone Park

Stickney

University Park

Winnetka

 

Municipalities That Opted Out of One Ordinance, but Not the Other

Bensenville (Kept Min Wage)

Cicero (Kept Paid Sick Days)

Bedford Park (opted out of only Sick Time)

 

Municipalities That Opted Out of Both Ordinances (No Wage Increase Or Paid Sick Time) 

Alsip

Arlington Heights

Barrington

Barlett

Bellwood

Berkeley

Bedford Park (opted out of onlySick Time

Brookfield

Bridgeview

Buffalo Grove

Burbank

Burr Ridge

Chicago Heights

Chicago Ridge

Crestwood

Des Plaines

East Hazel Crest

Elgin

Elk Grove Village

Elmwood Park

Evergreen Park

Forest Park

Franklin Park

Glenview

Hanover Park

Harwood Heights

Hickory Hills

Hillside

Hodgkins

Hoffman Estates

Indian Head Park

Invernes

Justice

LaGrange

La Grange Park

Lansing

Lincolnwood

Lynwood

Lyons

Maywood

Melrose Park

Morton Grove

Mount Prospect

NilesNorridge

North Riverside

Northbrook

Northlake

Oak Forest

Oak Lawn

Orland Hills

Orland Park

Palatine

Palos Heights

Palos Hills

Palos Park

Park Ridge

Prospect Heights

River Forest

River Grove

Riverside

Rolling Meadows

Roselle

Rosemont

Schaumburg

Schiller Park

Streamwood

South Barrington

South Chicago Heights

South Holland

Steger

Summit

Thorton

Tinley Park

Westchester

Western Springs

Wheeling

Willow Springs

Wilmette

Worth

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Child Care Providers Hold Pop-Up Preschool in Protest of Governor Rauner’s Continued Attacks on the Successful Child Care Assistance Program

Childcare Providers and their allies denounce Governor Rauner’s allegiance to billionaires while Illinois kids and working parents struggle with cuts to child care assistance

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 Chicago- After years of cuts to the Child Care Assistance Program and regressive tax policy, frontline child care providers and children in their care delivered a letter to Governor Bruce Rauner’s hedge fund demanding that the governor invest in families instead of billionaires.

Since Rauner entered office, his administration has waged war against child care assistance in Illinois. In 2015, his drastic income requirements on the Child Care Assistance Program forced 40,000 children off of the program, leaving low-income working parents scrambling to find ways to keep their children safe and cared for while they work. Then earlier this year, Rauner’s administration instituted drastic mandatory training requirements, which go far beyond federal requirements, which would exempt close to 70% of child care providers. The extreme Rauner training requirements could cut thousands of children off of the program, in a backdoor scheme to further weaken the program.

Home Childcare Provider, Sharon Norwood, said “Governor Rauner and his billionaire friends are gambling with the futures of our children. Childcare providers like me work hard, we care about our children. I go the extra mile for the children I take care of, but Rauner refuses to go that far for people like me.”

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Sharon Norwood, Childcare Provider- Chicago, IL

All of these cuts, both direct and backdoor, are justified under the guise of ‘cost-savings’ by the Administration. However, elimination of the carried interest loophole could generate up to $1.7 billion for Illinois in the first year alone, sparing some of Illinois’ most vulnerable from further cuts to care.

Members of the  Chicago Teachers Union joined SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana members in their frustration at Governor Rauner’s cuts to early childhood education and Head Start.

Since Governor Rauner is occupying the futures of Illinois’ children with austerity measures and poverty, they occupied his private equity firm with a pop-up preschool to demand the 1% stop profiting from tax loopholes on the backs of children.

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In Budget Override, IL Home Care for Seniors Dodges Bullet-But Danger Still Lurks

SPRINGFIELD – Following is the statement of Save IL Home Care for Seniors, a coalition constituted of Caring Across Generations; AARP Illinois; the Alzheimer’s Association, Illinois Chapter; the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans; and SEIU Healthcare Illinois upon the House override of Gov. Rauner’s budget veto:

“The administration of Bruce Rauner made dismantling the vastly successful Community Care Program (CCP) for seniors a top priority of the budget talks. Thankfully, negotiators stood firm and held the line against the $120 million cut to care that put 36,000 seniors at risk of forced institutionalization. The compromise, creating a task force to review care of seniors ineligible for Medicaid funds, creates a new opportunity to iterate just how CCP saves taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and allows Illinoisans in their golden years to stay in their homes and community with dignity, instead of costlier nursing homes where, research shows, the outcomes are bleaker.

“Still, the seniors of Illinois have much to be concerned about and need to ask hard questions of their governor. Will he abandon his plan to replace CCP with rationing senior care via a patchwork, unproven program using rideshare programs, cleaning services and food coupons? Does he believe that seniors cycling in and out of poverty should be denied care from the outset?

“Illinois seniors dodged a bullet in the budget crisis. But clearly, the danger still lurks.”

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