August 2017

Governor Rauner Signs Legislation to Partially Restore Child Care Assistance Program to Vulnerable Families

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But still moves back-door cuts to throw thousands of parents, children off the vital program

On August 28th, Governor Bruce Rauner signed HB 3213/SB1705 which would restore access to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) for families enrolled full-time in non-TANF education and training programs, by adding them to the program’s priority populations in statute.

In July 2015 Governor Rauner unilaterally restricted parents enrolled in an education or training program from CCAP eligibility and they were NOT reinstated when the program was partially restored later that year. Advocates estimate that by adding these families to the priority populations would restore CCAP services to between 4,000 – 5,000 children.

Rauner’s 2015 cuts CCAP eliminated nearly 40,000 families thanks to education and income level restrictions. At the time of the cuts, Rauner promised that as soon as a budget is secured the program would be fully restored. While reinstating the education eligibility to the program is an important step forward for thousands of families- Rauner still needs to follow through with his promise on restoring income eligibility to 185% of the federal poverty line. Restoring the income eligibility to 185% the federal poverty line would allow a family of three that makes $37,777 to be eligible for CCAP versus the current eligibility of $33,080 for a family of three.

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Rauner signs this legislation on top of the looming threat of thousands of children being eliminated from CCAP thanks to heavily burdensome mandatory training requirements on providers. This crisis in CCAP can easily be avoided with a federally-allowed exemption of relative care providers from the mandatory training requirements and an extension on the September 30, 2017 deadline.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, who represent around 19,000 licensed and unlicensed child care providers, demand that Governor Rauner restore eligibility for families to 185% of the poverty line and exempt relative care providers from the mandatory training program. Child Care Providers and advocates will be delivering thousands of postcards to Governor Rauner’s office at the Thompson Center to demand that he fully restore CCAP and stop the backdoor cuts.

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Massive Protests Planned for Labor Day as ‘Workers Strike Back’

A Historically Broad Coalition Led by Hospital Workers to Announced Plans for Citywide Actions

Declared Unions the Best Way to Fix Economic, Political Systems Rigged to Benefit Big Corporations

CHICAGO—Workers in Chicago will “strike back” this Labor Day when they help launch a national movement to organize more unions and elect politicians who drive worker agendas rather than those of corporations and wealthy individuals.

Join your fellow workers on Labor Day. RSVP Today.

That announcement came during a press conference today at SEIU Healthcare Illinois, where adjunct professors, hospital, fast food, airport and other workers committed to the movement calling for union rights and a minimum wage of at least $15 that will launch simultaneously in cities across the country.

The Chicago launch will include a protest at a Pilsen area McDonalds led by hundreds of fast food workers on strike, followed by rallies at the Thompson Center and at the American Hospital Association.

For too long, corporations have controlled politicians, kept wages low and kept worker rights down, workers said.

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“Why the American Hospital Association,” asked Katina McDavis, a worker at Northwestern Memorial Hospital? “The agenda of the Association – just like large corporations – is to maximize the profits and power of hospitals. They keep wages low for frontline hospital workers and make it difficult to form unions, denying us our basic rights and voices on the job.

“In fact, our entire economy is rigged against working people,” she said.

Fight back against a rigged economy. RSVP for Labor Day when #WorkersStrikeBack

Fast food worker Laura Williams will be on strike Labor Day. She hasn’t received a raise in four years. Having a union would help to address that injustice, the 50-year-old single mom said. She also denounced Gov. Bruce Rauner for recently vetoing a bill that would raise the state minimum wage to $15.

An aspect of the movement is for workers to dedicate 40 hours by November 2018 to identify and support politicians who will drive the worker agenda of $15 and union rights.

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“As a Black woman, I can speak to the importance of unions for people of color,” Williams said. “Across the country, more than half of Black workers like me, almost half of women workers like me, and nearly 60 percent of Latino workers are paid less than $15 an hour. Gov. Rauner just stole raises from millions of Illinois workers. He vetoed $15 (on Friday); we’ll veto him in 2018.”

Don’t let Rauner get away with blocking our raises. RSVP for Labor Day.

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Union workers receive better wages, benefits and working conditions than non-union workers, said Oliwia Pac, who, along with other O’Hare Airport workers are seeking to form a union. Unions will help workers to address injustices, demand the dignity and respect they deserve for the work they do and address the low wages that keep them living paycheck to paycheck, she said.

“Airport workers have faced wage theft, mass firings and insufficient health and safety conditions. On top of all that, we get paid poverty wages,” said Pac, who works for Prospect as a wheelchair attendant. “Big airlines have rigged the travel industry at our expense. … We know that unions act as a buffer against corporate greed and income inequity. That’s why we need strong unions now more than ever. That’s why we’re striking back on Labor Day.”

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Cardiac unit worker Phyllis Johnson voiced concerns about dignity and respect on the job, saying America needs unions to balance the playing field against corporate power.

“Can you imagine what it’s like trying to calm down a 250-pound patient who has a heart problem but is acting aggressively due to mental problems?” she asked. “If we had a union we would have collective power to address these situations.

“If we had a union we could demand the proper training we need to do our jobs better. If we had a union we could fight stronger for wages that show respect for the work we do and demand that hospitals invest in their workforce and patients,” she said.

Stand with workers like Phyllis. RSVP for Labor Day.

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“I work for one of the richest and most prestigious institutions in the world, Northwestern University, and I barely made enough to survive and start a family for the last 6 years,” said Jackson Bartlett, a visiting professor and member of SEIU Local 73.

“We are fighting for a fair contract, living wages for instructors, course guarantees, and healthcare so we can do our best in the classroom. This Labor Day, we’re coming out full force with the Fight for 15 and hospital workers and other workers who have been beaten down by greedy corporations and politicians. We know as faculty, we’re stronger when we stand together.”

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Other speakers included the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the Sierra Club and Communities United.

“They’re still finding ways to suppress us and we won’t take it. This modern day slavery has got to stop. That’s why it’s important to formulate and organize,” said Debora Lane of ATU Local 308.

“We can’t afford most things with minimum wage. We can’t afford food and rent in one of the richest countries,” added Merced Alday of Communities United.

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RSVP for Labor Day.

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Check out more photos on Facebook.

 

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Rauner Veto of $15 Sets Stage for ’18

 

Competing Visions Now In Place: A Permanent Low-Wage Economy or a Fairer Illinois? 

CHICAGO-Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley following Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of Senate Bill 81, legislation to raise the minimum wage in Illinois to $15 by 2022.

“Bruce Rauner’s veto of a $15 minimum wage for Illinois sets the stage for 2018. More than 2.3 million Illinois workers would have benefited from Senate Bill 81, which was carefully considered and vetted by business groups, workers and economists before its passage by the General Assembly.

“Knowing this was wrong for Illinois he waited to the last minute and, with this veto, Gov. Rauner showed us once again who he is and what his vision is for Illinois: A permanent low-wage economy, where services and infrastructure are slashed, where workers are deprived of dignity and rights and where corporations call all the shots.

“In supporting the $15 wage bill, we understood that raising the wage isn’t a threat to jobs. In fact, it would have immediately provided a BOOST to the Illinois economy. It would have stopped the subsidy of corporations who don’t pay a living wage. It would have slowed population flight by making Illinois a wage oasis. And it would have helped MILLIONS of Illinoisans get a fair shot at entry into the Middle Class.

“The Illinois minimum wage has remained at $8.25 since 2010. This is not even CLOSE to enough to get by and the terrible effects are falling disproportionately on women and people of color.

“The time for a raise to is now. If Gov. Rauner won’t allow this to happen in Illinois, we will join with workers across this state to elect someone next November who will.”

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Services for 36,000 Illinois Seniors Saved By Advocacy Coalition

Advocates for seniors, caregivers, General Assembly and aging community unite to protect critical services for Illinois’ most vulnerable population

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Chicago – The following is a statement on behalf of Alzheimer’s Association Illinois Chapter, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Caring Across Generations, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the withdrawal of rules that would have forced 36,000 vulnerable Illinois seniors out of the Community Care Program and into the unproven and untested Community Reinvestment Program:

“Our coalition welcomes news that the Department on Aging will be withdrawing their prior Community Reinvestment Program (CRP) rules from the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), and we are ready to continue the work of building a stronger Community Care Program that will meet the needs of future aging Illinoisans while protecting their health, safety, and dignity.

“Our coalition has opposed the CRP rules since they first appeared in the Governor’s FY17 budget proposal and since then they have been rejected by advocates, seniors who stood to be impacted, caregivers, senior service providers, and by the General Assembly in their recent bipartisan budget vote. We want to thank state lawmakers who stood up for Illinois seniors throughout this process. We are especially grateful for the leadership of State Senator Dan Biss and State Representatives Greg Harris and Anna Moeller.

“As we have stated from day one, we are ready and willing to work with IDOA, the Rauner administration, and the new Community Care Program Services Task Force to strengthen the successful Community Care Program to utilize each taxpayer dollar as efficiently as possible while simultaneously enabling Illinoisans to age in our communities with the services and support they need.”

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Child Care Providers Give Testimony on Mandatory Training Requirements to Illinois House Human Services Committee

Child care providers, parents face looming crisis to Child Care Assistance Program which could leave thousands of children without care.

SEIU HCII members and allies give testimony to the Illinois House Human Services Committee

SEIU HCII members and allies give testimony to the Illinois House Human Services Committee

On Tuesday, August 22, the House Human Services committee met to hold a Subject Matter Hearing surrounding a looming crisis in the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). Child Care providers and parents say that backdoor cuts in the form of mandatory training requirements will eliminate thousands of families from CCAP by September 30th.

“I am really worried that many CCAP providers will not be able to finish the training by September 30th and that it will be like 2015 again- with thousands of children without care while their parents are at work. Back in 2015 parents lost their jobs, or had to drop out school because they have kids. I see these training as a backdoor cut on the program. Right now thousands of CCAP providers haven’t been as lucky to finish the training as I have.” said Annie Wilder, a grandmother who cares for her grandchildren and SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana member.

The backdoor cuts come in the form of federal mandatory training requirements that must be completed by the end of September, largely impacting “Family, Friend, and Neighbor Care”, which provides care vital care for low-income people in a trusted setting.

Child Care Providers speak to the press about mandatory training requirements.

Child Care Providers speak to the press about mandatory training requirements.

On top of the trainings being long and largely inaccessible, the administration is also requiring providers to pay for their own training and miss days of work.

At the hearing Jamaine Wells, SEIU HCII member and child care provider, told the committee that “The state can exempt relative providers like me from the mandatory training. The state can also give us more time and provide us more resources to get trained. We need solutions and right now the state is not providing them.”

Providers and parents asked House Human Services committee to put pressure on the Illinois Department of Human Services to exempt relative providers from these trainings, a carve-out allowed by the federal requirements. This exemption would save thousands of families from losing vital child care.

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NEW REPORT – Independence Lost: Governor Rauner’s New Plan to Destroy Home Care for Illinois Seniors

INDEPENDENCE LOST: New Report Reveals Threats Posed by Rauner Plan to Drastically Cut Home Care for Illinois Seniors

36,000 seniors remain in limbo as advocates call on Administration to WITHDRAW HARMFUL RULES

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Chicago – Alzheimer’s Association Illinois, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, Illinois Council of Case Coordination Units, Caring Across Generations, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois released a new report that further illustrates concerns and problems that plague Governor Bruce Rauner’s proposed Community Reinvestment Program (CRP), a controversial initiative that aims to force 36,000 vulnerable Illinois seniors out of the successful Community Care Program (CCP) via a $120 million cut.

Under the CRP, seniors currently receiving critical home care services through the CCP who are not enrolled in Medicaid would see their trusted caregivers replaced with a patchwork of replacement services like Uber drivers, housekeeping and laundry services, and meal vouchers.

Despite the General Assembly’s rejection of the CRP in bipartisan fashion during the recent budget vote, the Rauner administration has yet to withdraw the rule changes through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).

The new report warns of adverse outcomes to seniors, caregivers, and families if the Rauner rules are approved. Further, it highlights the increased cost to taxpayers as seniors are forcibly relocated to nursing home care when unable to navigate the untested and unproven program.

With new research in hand, advocates have renewed calls for the Rauner administration to withdraw the proposed CRP rules, and for the newly created DOA Community Care Program Services Task Force to heed warnings laid out in the research when developing recommendations to ensure that the targeted 36,000 seniors, many of whom cycle in and out of poverty and Medicaid, can remain in their homes and communities with dignity.

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Key Stakeholders Shut Out of IDOA Community Care Program Services Task Force-Political Vendetta?

Leading senior advocates and the union representing 25,000 home care aides in the Community Care Program left out of Task Force after public criticism of Rauner plan to ration care

SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Bruce Rauner’s scheme to cut 36,000 Illinois seniors from the vastly successful Community Care Program (CRP) by forcing them into an untested and unproven initiative, the so-called Community Reinvestment Program, was met with intense public outcry from day one. SEIU Healthcare Illinois and numerous aging advocates were outspoken against the Governor’s plan and it appears are now being PURPOSELY left out of the Community Care Program Services Task Force, mandated to look into ways to improve services for seniors.

Rauner’s dangerous privatization scheme is still being pursued through the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) as Rauner refuses to withdraw the rules-despite state lawmakers approving a bipartisan budget that provides NO funding for the controversial program.

The Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Caring Across Generations, and Health & Medicine Policy Research Group release the following statement, responding to key stakeholders being left out of the CCP Services Task Force:

“Shutting out the key stakeholders from a task force created in a bipartisan fashion to examine ways to improve the function of the Community Care Program must be considered a slap in the face by the Rauner administration to the vulnerable seniors who rely on the program to remain in their homes, the workers hired by these seniors to deliver the vital services and the legislators from both parties who wish to see this vastly successful program thrive.

“Shutting these stakeholders out of the task force seems more like a political vendetta than a commitment to finding real solutions for Illinois seniors.

“Positions on the task force were clearly laid out by state lawmakers with the intention of creating space for organizations with a mission to advocate on behalf of those who stand to be impacted. The Department on Aging instead chose to exclude those organizations after they expressed opposition to the so-called Community Reinvestment Program, resulting in state lawmakers refusing to fund the questionable proposal in the approved state budget.

“While we are disappointed in the Department on Aging’s actions, our coalition remains committed to protecting Illinois seniors and caregivers in the Community Care Program and stands ready to partner with task force members to find responsible solutions to meeting the needs of aging Illinoisans so they can remain living independently in their homes.”

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Statewide Home Care Membership Meetings in August

Our monthly membership meetings for home care workers are just around the corner! Mark your calendar for the meeting in your area and RSVP here to let us know you’ll be there.

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We’ve got a lot to talk about – from the raises we won in the state budget to bargaining updates for Personal Assistants and home care aides.

RSVP here to let us know you’ll attend the meeting in your area to hear all the latest information impacting Illinois home care workers. 

Hope to see you there!

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Personal Assistants: Pay Day Calendar Update

Update as of Thursday, August 24, 2017

We have BREAKING NEWS for Personal Assistants that paychecks have gone into the mail and direct deposits will appear tomorrow, Friday, August 25, in bank accounts ahead of the August 28 DHS pay date!

We once again were able to work with Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza to release paychecks early because DHS finally sent the necessary paperwork to them. While this is welcome news, we realize that this paycheck is still late and created tremendous hardship for thousands of families. 

The fact that DHS has been able to pay PAs before the dates they listed on their new calendar is further evidence that there is NO REASON that they should change the pay calendar.

Sign our petition here if you have not already done so and then share it with other PAs you know. 

We are continuing to pressure DHS to restore the old pay date calendar, but in our most recent bargaining session on Monday, August 21, the State refused – even after we delivered a petition to them with over 1,000 signatures demanding that the old pay dates get restored. 

We must stick together and keep up the fight against this terrible pay date change. We will hold a telephone town hall meeting next week to discuss this update and other important information so stay tuned for more details.

As a reminder, we have statewide meetings happening this Saturday, August 26, where you can come out and hear updates. See the full schedule here. 

Until the State agrees to revert back to the old calendar, future pay dates will still be according to the new calendar that DHS sent out, you can view it here. According to that new calendar, the next PA pay date will be on September 13. 

SIGN THE PETITION URGING DHS TO RESTORE OUR PAY DATES!

Acabamos de recibir la confirmación de que los cheques de sueldo para los Asistentes Personales han sido envíados por correo y los depósitos directos llegarán a las cuentas bancarias mañana.

Nuestro sindicato pudo de trabajar con la Contralora de Illinois Susana Mendoza nuevamente para que los cheques fueran enviados, antes de la fecha de pago del 28 de agosto que aparece en el calendario del DHS. Si bien esto es una buena noticia, reconocemos que este cheque de pago aún es tarde y creó una enorme dificultad para miles de familias.

El hecho de que el DHS fue capaz de pagar a la gente antes de la fecha que aparece en su nuevo calendario es una prueba más de que no hay ninguna razón por la que deberían cambiar el calendario de pago y vamos a seguir presionando para restaurar las futuras fechas de pago.

Por ahora, los asistentes personales deben esperar su próximo cheque de pago el 13 de septiembre. Los mantendremos informado mientras cuando tengamos noticias adicionales.


Why did DHS change the pay date calendar?

There’s been a lot of confusion regarding the payroll schedule changes made by DORS. DORS has been informing PAs that the schedule change was due to an agreement made by our union. However, that’s not exactly correct. Some of you may know that our union filed a grievance against the State because they were not giving PAs 5 business days after the pay period to submit their time sheets. During the course of our communication with the State in working through the grievance, the State said that it will allow PAs 5 business day, but that the pay dates would have to change. It was not our union’s intention to change the pay dates. Our intention was only to preserve the 5 business days our PAs have a right to as stated in the contract.

We have made every effort to communicate this to the State and to explain that their changing the pay dates is unnecessary and harmful to PAs. We believe that the State has the ability to process time sheets on time and still allow PAs 5 business days to submit them. The State has had this process for over a decade, why are they eager to change it now? There are other priorities the State should focus on and changing pay dates is not one of them.

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HSP Payroll Calendar

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