September 2017

Christian Care Home Stays Open Thanks to SEIU Members Stepping Up!

chritian care barg teamThe committee immediately postponed bargaining to do whatever was needed to get the facility to pass inspection.

“We gave them suggestions on how the home could do a better job, like updating all of the care plans,” said bargaining team leader Brenda Davis.

With less than a week before the September 1 deadline, CCH still had not received assurances that the state would return for another visit. Management also did not appear to have a plan to appeal the decision.

That is when the power of our union stepped in to fill the void, reaching out to State Representative Cora Faith Walker and U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill.  Their offices made calls to the Department of Health and Senior Services and the Center for Medicare Services and received commitments from both that a visit would be scheduled before the September 1 deadline.

“That just shows you what kind of power we have in our union,” said Ms. Davis.  “There is no doubt in my mind that the without the union’s intervention, our facility would have closed.”

Christian Care Home passed inspection during the follow up site visit, and member leaders are ready to get back to the bargaining table to fight for what we deserve!

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Rauner Child Care “Restoration” Comes Amid Back-Door Assault on Workforce

CHICAGO-Following is the response of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President Brynn Seibert to the breaking news the Rauner administration seeks to restore some eligibility to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) after implementing disastrous cuts in 2015 that have left 30,000 fewer families enrolled:

 

“When Gov. Bruce Rauner first implemented the limits to the Child Care Assistance Program, every expert in the field, including the then-director of the program, predicted disaster. And they were right.

 

“While restoration of the program to pre-Rauner-cuts levels would be welcome, and was part of the promise he made Illinoisans, it cannot be separated from the reality that his administration continues to implement back-door cuts that could lead to almost 15,000 child care providers being purged in the coming months. What good is a restored program if there are no providers to give care?

 

“These back-door cuts sought by the Rauner administration via arbitrary interpretation of new federal training guidelines remain a threat to working families and will fall predominantly on poor women of color.

 

“Illinois may NEVER recover from the damage that Gov. Rauner visited on a successful system of child care built up over the years. But as he faces re-election, we welcome an examination of his record when it comes to the thousands of working parents and children whom he has harmed.”

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WinnetkaMarch2

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SEIU Missouri State Council: “Justice Was Not Served” in Stockley Verdict

ST. LOUIS – The following is a statement from Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Missouri State Council President Nancy Cross and State Council Treasurer Lenny Jones:

“This morning, Judge Wilson acquitted former police officer Jason Stockley in the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith. Three years after the killing of Michael Brown sparked days-long protests, Judge Wilson shows that our region has still learned nothing from the sins of the past.

“We have a long way to go in winning racial justice in Missouri. As an organization dedicated to dismantling structural anti-black racism, SEIU recognizes that we cannot separate the fight for racial justice from economic justice.

“Justice was not served for Anthony Lamar Smith. Our prayers are with his family today. SEIU members will continue to fight back against police brutality and will not rest until real justice is attained.”

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September Home Care Membership Meetings in Illinois

Illinois Home Care Members:

Join us at one of our September membership meetings happening across the state! We will discuss updates out of bargaining for DOA home care aides and DORS Personal Assistants, including the raises we won in the state budget, our fight to stop the DHS overtime policy, and efforts to pressure DHS to restore the pay calendar for PAs. Come out to learn more and find out how you can get involved. 

Click here to RSVP. 

Sept HC Member Meetings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: There will be an additional meeting held on Saturday, September 23 at 1 p.m. at the Sterling Public Library, located at 102 W. 3rd Street in Sterling, Illinois. 

 

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Thanks mom, for helping teach me how to collect dues – and so much more!

keith_kelleher

Over the years, many people have asked me: “how did you build the union from only 7 members in 1983, to representing over 90,000 today? How did you organize really low-wage workers like homecare and childcare providers, when no one thought that was possible? How did you do it without dues checkoff, hand collecting dues – did you really do that? How did you learn to do that?”

Most times I would just say that I was trained as a community organizer and a labor organizer by ACORN and ULU (United Labor Unions), and we were trained to collect dues the first day you went out on the doors in our community and labor organizing drives. That’s all true – but I would never tell them who really taught me how to collect dues – my mother!

I recently lost my mom, but I remember this like it was yesterday.

My mother was a child of the depression and World War II, who grew up on the Lower East Side of New York City and in Brooklyn. She got married at age 19 and had 8 kids by the time she was 32!

When i was a kid, my mother was the treasurer of the Holy Name Society in our parish and one of her jobs was to collect the dues from all the women in the parish. So every month or so, my mother and I would load up in our car and drive to the homes of the Holy Name members.

My mother would drive, and I would be the collector – as she pulled up at each person’s house, it would be my job to jump out of the car and run up to the door of the house and collect the money, usually in a church envelope, and then i would run back to the car and write down in her dues book how much each family had given.

If it was in our more middle class neighborhood, almost everyone would have the envelope ready and the right amount of money would be in there, but when we got into the wealthier parts of town, some of them wouldn’t have the right amount or it would be much less than they committed, or they wouldn’t have anything at all!

You should have heard my mother!

“Did Mrs McCarthy give what she promised?

She didn’t?

She only gave some spare change!

Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Look at the fancy house, look at the fancy cars! Her husband works on Wall Street! That is a sin, that is a mortal sin! I’m going to get Father Walsh to talk with her – she’s got some nerve, with the house and the cars!

Only giving spare change to the church, but then on Sunday they’re sitting right up in front of the Monsignor, with the fancy clothes and the mink! it’s a sin, a mortal sin!”

She would go on and on and, at the time, I would roll my eyes, and pray that the next house would be the last, but then later, I’d tell funny stories – complete with her Brooklyn accent – to my brothers and sisters about what my mother said about the other members of the parish as we collected dues together.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I learned a lot from her about about accountability, and about justice – that you should pay your dues and your fair share – or there would be hell to pay!

To my parents and many in their generation, the church, like a family or a union, was a “haven in a heartless world.” It was an immigrant church for members who went there not only for spiritual healing and ceremony but for family and social events, for religious education, as well as a little economic help like finding a job, and charity for those who needed it. When we were younger, she would entertain us with stories about how she met my father at a CYO (Catholic youth organization) dance and how they would travel by bus and train throughout Brooklyn to various parishes to dance and socialize with their friends.

Not supporting the parish and the good works they did really was seen as a sin – she wasn’t kidding.

So later, when I decided to be a community and union organizer, she must have infused me with the same zeal that she had as we drove through our town many years before. that’s how I really learned to collect dues.

It was invaluable training for my future as an organizer.

And that’s how i saw it – we had to collect dues because no one was going to fund us to organize poor people into unions. We were organizing the lowest wage homecare and childcare providers in the city – many who were legally classified as “independent contractors” and paid minimum and subminimum wages of only $1, when the federal minimum wage was only $3.35 an hour.

We had to have that same zeal and determination my mother had when we collected church dues together. We didn’t have dues checkoff and not much chance to get formal union recognition, so we collected dues, just like my mother taught me – with a lot of help from my trainers at ACORN and ULU – and we acted like a union, even if we didn’t have formal union recognition.

I remember feeling so good at my very first meeting of the Chicago Homecare Workers’ Union/ULU Local 880 in the basement of the United Methodist Temple in downtown Chicago – there was only a handful of workers there, like 7, and most had joined, paying their $5 joining fee and $5 monthly dues in dollars, quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies. Mostly poor, middle-aged black women, unfolding wrinkled dollars from their purses, and digging change out of the bottom; and I and one of our leaders would enter their name in our dues book, give them their membership card and membership button and packet – this scene was repeated thousands of times in church basements, apartments, union halls, and living rooms all over Chicago and the state of Illinois, until we had built enough power to win wage and benefit increases, formal union recognition, union contracts and dues checkoff.

The union has grown from only 7 members in church basements in 1983, to representing over 90,000 workers today, in healthcare, childcare, nursing homes, and hospitals – this despite attacks by right wing organizations contesting the rights of these workers to even have a union.

So today, as we face larger legal attacks on labor like the upcoming “Janus decision,” contesting the right to have a union shop in the public sector – and many other similar attacks on workers’ rights like dues checkoff; i think of what my mother said as we went door-to-door trying to collect dues from wealthy parishioners – “…it’s a sin, a mortal sin!…”

Keith Kelleher is the former president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana Missouri/Kansas(HCIIMK), the Midwest’s largest local union and the 7th largest local of the Service Employees International Union(SEIU). Formed in 2008 by uniting three locals, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana represents 91,000 healthcare, home care, nursing home and child care workers fighting for higher standards of quality care and quality jobs. Prior to leading SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, Keith was Head Organizer of SEIU Local 880 where, under his leadership, the local pioneered the organization of home care, child care and other low-wage workers—growing the local from just 7 members in 1983 to over 68,000 members by 2008, and winning living wages and first-ever healthcare benefits for tens of thousands of Illinois workers. Prior to SEIU Local 880, Keith was head organizer of United Labor Unions (ULU) Local 880, which began homecare organizing in Chicago in 1983 and merged with SEIU in 1985. A labor and community organizer and leader for over 37 years, Keith also served as an SEIU International Executive Board Vice-President from June, 2008 – June, 2017.

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Important Update: DORS Overtime Changes

Update as of Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We got an important breakthrough this week in our fight against Governor Rauner’s terrible DHS Overtime Policy for Personal Assistants. As you may recall, we filed an unfair labor practice (ULP) charge against the state for refusing to bargain with us over the policy. This week, an administrative law judge ruled that the State broke the law by illegally implementing the overtime policy without bargaining with our union, and also ruled that PAs impacted by the illegal policy are eligible for back pay plus interest.

Based on the judge’s ruling, we will now seek an injunction against the State to force them to rescind this terrible policy again, and have any occurrences that have been issued rescinded as well. We are still exploring exactly how to obtain backpay for PAs that were impacted with our legal team so stay tuned for updates on that.

This is an important step forward in stopping this policy, but the fight is not over. Rauner can still appeal the judge’s decision and until the court grants an injunction the policy will remain in effect. This means that PAs are still under a 45 hour cap each week, and those who work over that amount of hours will receive occurrences from the State. We do not know how long it will take to get an injunction but we are moving quickly to get everything filed.

Right now we need to identify Personal Assistants who have received occurrences since August 1 for continuing to work overtime hours who are willing to speak with our legal team to provide affidavits to file our injunction. If you have received an occurrence since August 1, 2017, and are willing to help, please click here and complete the form with all of your information.

Our union has fought this horrible overtime policy for almost two years now, since November 2015. We have stood strong with our allies in the disability community and successfully delayed the implementation of the policy, and then when implemented in 2016 we were able to force the state to rescind it and all of the occurrences were rescinded as well. We will not stop fighting to stop the Overtime Policy, just like we will keep up the fight to restore PA pay dates and force the State to release the raises we won in the state budget.

We know this has been an incredible struggle for our members and we are happy to deliver this good news today. If we keep sticking together we can win for caregivers and the people with disabilities that we serve.

Esta semana, un juez de derecho administrativo dictaminó que el Estado infringió la ley al implementar ilegalmente la política de horas extras sin antes negociar con nuestro sindicato y, también dictaminó que los APs afectados por esta política ilegal son elegibles de pagos atrasados, más intereses.

Vamos a solicitar un mandato para que el estado rescinda esta política. Sin embargo, hasta que esto ocurra, el límite estatal de 45 horas por semana sigue vigente y el Estado continuara registrando incidentes a los APs que trabajan más de 45 horas por semana sin tener una excepción aprobada.

Nuestra lucha no ha terminado, pronto estaremos en contacto con más actualizaciones.

 


 

Update as of Thursday, July 6, 2017

DHS has announced that they intend to implement their overtime policy on August 1, 2017, which will cap hours at 45 hours per week with some exceptions.

Our union is continuing the fight against this terrible policy, along with our allies in the disability community, but we encourage Personal Assistants who work with a consumer who requires more than 45 hours per week under their care plan to begin the process of applying for exceptions under the policy.

The necessary forms and instructions can be found here on the DHS website.

We are still awaiting a decision from a judge on the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge that our union filed against the State because they refused to bargain with us about the overtime policy. We hope the judge will rule in our favor, and we intend to use the judge’s decision to force the State back to the bargaining table with us and prevent them from implementing their cap on hours starting August 1.

Until the decision is released though, it’s important that consumers who need their Personal Assistant to work more than 45 hours per week under their care plan immediately begin the process of applying for exceptions.

Just click here to find the forms and instructions for applying for exceptions.

We will keep you posted on further developments.


Update as of Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On Tuesday, March 14, the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), voted on Bruce Rauner’s terrible overtime policy. It was a split vote along party lines – 6 democrats opposed the overtime policy and 6 republicans supported it. We needed two republicans to side with us to stop the policy, and despite intense public outcry, republicans refused to cross Governor Rauner and delivered their votes for him instead.

We packed the room with people with disabilities, personal assistants, and advocates so that republican lawmakers saw the faces of those who would be hurt by their vote. Immediately following the vote, we held a press conference where we denounced the policy and then marched to Governor Rauner’s office to express our opposition to the Governor’s terrible overtime cap policy. Read our joint statement that we released with Access Living here about the vote.

While we are disappointed with JCAR’s vote yesterday, our fight for a fair overtime policy is not over. 

We have worked tirelessly for the last 16 months with disability advocates to stop Bruce Rauner’s terrible overtime rules and thanks to our efforts we do see a somewhat improved policy today, with higher caps and wider exceptions. However, there are still over 3,000 people with disabilities who are at risk under the overtime rules, and we will continue to fight for the rights of those consumers and their PAs.

We are awaiting a decision from the Illinois Labor Relations Board on our Unfair Labor Practice charge against the State for illegally implementing this overtime policy without bargaining with our union. We are also exploring other legal challenges to stop this harmful policy.

Finally, we are introducing legislation in the General Assembly that would bar the State from implementing an hours cap less than 55 hours per week, and would provide an even wider set of exceptions that consumers can apply for (House Bill 3376). If that bill is passed out of the General Assembly with veto-proof majorities, that may also be a viable option to stop this overtime policy.

However, DHS said they intend to implement the overtime rules which cap hours at 45 hours per week for personal assistants starting August 1, 2017. This means that for now, personal assistants may continue to work all the hours in your consumer’s service plan and get paid overtime pay of $19.50/ hour for all hours worked above 40 hours/week.

The policy does contain exceptions that consumers will be able to apply for in order for their PAs to work hours above the 45 hour per week cap. As soon as we receive information and instructions on how to apply for those exceptions, we will share it out widely with personal assistants.

As always, we will continue to share out updates as soon as possible with our members.

Stay tuned, and stay committed to this fight – it is NOT over.


Update as of Tuesday, August 9, 2016

We are pleased to also announce that we now have confirmation that all past disciplinary occurrences related to the overtime policy will be rescinded.

Again, all disciplinary occurrences that were given out to Personal Assistants due to the overtime policy are being rescinded effective immediately.

This is huge news because as we reported last week, over 2,000 PAs had received disciplinary occurrences since May 1, and this will mean those occurrences will be removed.

We will keep you posted on further updates as we receive them. We still have to fight to ensure the state doesn’t attempt to implement the same terrible policy through the rules-making process, but for now this is something to celebrate.


UPDATE as of 12:00 PM Wednesday August 3, 2016

We have BREAKING NEWS to share with you regarding the State’s disastrous overtime policy. 2,000 PAs faced termination as early as next week under the state’s unfair policy and our union was ready to file a lawsuit today demanding the State rescind the policy immediately.

Threatened by our lawsuit, the State announced late last night that they would rescind the overtime policy! 

This is a huge victory, but it is a temporary victory. 

The Rauner administration’s 11th-hour backtracking is an acknowledgement that they broke the law by capping hours for Personal Assistants. However, the State still plans to move forward with formally submitting the overtime rules, which allows for public comment and concerns from the disability community and from PAs. This means that we must continue fighting for a fair policy for people with disabilities and PAs.

For now, Personal Assistants who have overtime hours can work them without fear of disciplinary occurrences. 

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UPDATE as of Friday, April 29, 2016
Despite our union’s good-faith efforts to reach a fair agreement on overtime, the State pulled a bait-and-switch, insisting that any agreement on overtime must be contingent on us agreeing to a 4-year wage freeze for Personal Assistants.

This is not acceptable, and we are escalating our fight for $15 for Personal Assistants, and to protect our healthcare & training and get a fair overtime policy.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE OVERTIME HOURS
Consumers and PAs need to prepare for the State to start implementing their terrible overtime policy on May 1st and we strongly encourage those with consumers who may be eligible for an exception to this policy to apply for it with DHS immediately. Your consumer can apply by submitting an Overtime Qualification Form to their local DORS office.

If your consumer is not approved for an exception, the State is saying that you can no longer work more than 40 hours per week or else you may face discipline. If your consumer has been unable to find additional Personal Assistants to take their hours over 40, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 to report it, so we can keep track of how the State’s policy is harming people with disabilities and workers.

If you are in the situation where you have worked 40 hours and there is no backup Personal Assistant to work the rest of the hours, the State is saying that you may be disciplined and even terminated if you work over 40 hours. The State is saying 3 strikes and you’re out under their policy, unless the overtime is approved. This is exactly why their policy is so unfair and we are fighting it so hard.

If you are a PA who is in this situation, and if you choose to work your overtime hours, here is what we advise:
1) Fill out an affidavit and have your consumer sign it certifying that your Consumer’s health and safety is at risk if they don’t receive all of their hours and turn it in with your time sheet. Click here to view and print the affidavit in English, and here to view and print the affidavit in Spanish.
2) Fill out an Overtime Justification Form and turn it in with your time sheet. That form is located here. Be sure to include on the form that your consumer is looking for additional PAs but has been unable to find any so far. 
3) You should also call the head of the Home Services Program, Vivian Anderson, at this number: (855) 673-2005 and tell her your situation and that the State should stop this unfair overtime policy.
4) Lastly, our union will represent you and we will fight any unjust discipline from the State over this terrible policy. You can report any issues around discipline relating to the Overtime Policy to our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348.

 


 

UPDATE as of Thursday, April 7, 2016

The State has sent out letters to Personal Assistants and DORS consumers with notice of plans to implement their Overtime Policy starting May 1, 2016. The letter states that our union, SEIU Healthcare Illinois, agreed to this implementation date – this is not true and our union has not agreed to May 1 implementation.

We are continuing to fight for and demand a fair Overtime Policy that protects Personal Assistants and people with disabilities. 

Until the end of April, Personal Assistants can continue to work current hours and will be paid overtime for hours worked over 40 in one week. However, it is important for all DORS Personal Assistants to be aware that the State continues to threaten to implement its overtime cap beginning May 1st.  Therefore, if your DORS consumer is eligible for an exception to the State’s Overtime Policy, they should apply for that exception right away.

If your consumer will be put at risk of institutionalization or other harm due to this policy, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 to report it.

You can take action to stop the Overtime Policy by dialing 888-864-8950. You will hear a recorded message and then have the option to be connected to Governor Rauner’s office to tell him to stop the DORS Overtime Policy because it will hurt people with disabilities and Personal Assistants.

 


 

UPDATE as of Monday, February 29, 2016

We are happy to report that the State has agreed to delay their planned March 1, 2016 implementation of the DORS Overtime Policy.

We do not know how long this delay will last. However, together with our disability rights allies, our union will continue to fight against the State’s misguided overtime policy because it is harmful to people with disabilities and Personal Assistants.

Because we have a union, the state is required to bargain with us over this issue. Thanks to our rights as union members, we have successfully delayed implementation of this bad policy.

Here is what this means for Personal Assistants:

  • PAs can continue working all the hours their consumer authorizes them to work, even if that means working over 40 hours a week.
  • PAs will be paid overtime for all hours worked beyond 40 hours in one week.
  • PAs will be paid travel time when going from one consumer to the next in one day.
  • No PA will be disciplined or lose their job because they work more than 40 hours in a week. NOTE: Your local DHS office may not have been notified of this update yet. If you have any problems with your local office, please call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 to report it. 
  • We encourage all PAs to enter their time on their time sheets and the EVV system correctly and accurately.

Along with our allies in the disability rights movement, we are exploring legal challenges to the State’s policy and will share new updates as we receive them.

 


 

UPDATE as of December 29, 2015

We have an important update to share regarding overtime hours for DORS workers in the Home Services Program.

Many caregivers received letters from the Home Services Program that said you were not allowed to work more than 40 hours a week starting in 2016 – even if your consumer has over 40 hours.

We want to let you know that due to the hard work of our union, advocates for people with disabilities, and dozens of DORS workers who shared personal stories, the Home Services Program has agreed to wait to implement any changes until after our union and the State are done bargaining about the Overtime Rules during our current contract negotiations. This means that for now you can continue to work your normal hours even if they go over 40 hours per week and you will  get paid time and a half for hours over 40.

NOTE: We are awaiting clarity as to whether or not overtime forms need to be filled out. As soon as we receive an update, we will share it widely.

This is an important victory for DORS workers and consumers! Because we have a union, we will have a voice in how the State moves forward with new federal overtime protections for home care workers.


UPDATE as of December 9, 2015

About two years ago the US Dept. of Labor (DOL) issued new rules covering home care workers in regards to overtime pay and travel pay. This was a huge move by the Obama administration because it stood to affect over 2 million home care workers nationwide. Previously, DORS Personal Assistants and MHH professionals were not eligible for overtime pay or for travel pay, but these new rules mean all DORS caregivers are covered just like agency home care workers starting January 1, 2016.

Recently, DORS mailed out plans for their implementation of this new policy, without negotiating the terms with our union as we requested multiple times. Their plans would place an undue hardship on home care consumers and workers and we oppose these plans as a result.

Our union is working with the disability rights community to push for continued, strong consumer-direction; meaning home care consumers should have control over who they hire and how many workers they want to hire. The State should not override consumer rights because they want to avoid paying overtime to workers.

Here is what our union has proposed to the State:

  • All DORS Personal Assistants and MHH professionals working over 40 hours/week must be paid time and a half.
  • Pay for travel between consumers should be at the regular hourly rate. For example, the Personal Assistant hourly rate is $13. If it takes a PA 30 minutes to get to their second consumer, that PA should earn half of the hourly rate for their time, $6.50.
  • We have demanded bargaining about overtime and travel pay, and have demanded that no changes be implemented until bargaining takes place. Since the State has moved forward with implementation despite our request, we may have to file unfair labor practice charges, and we stand ready to do so.
  • For now, we advise all DORS caregivers to continue working the same amount of hours they currently have.

We will update all Personal Assistants and MHH professionals with new information as we have it. In the meantime, feel free to call the Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348 with any further questions or concerns you may have.

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BREAKING: Rauner Administration Violated State Labor Act in OT Cuts for People With Disabilities, Administrative Law Judge Rules;

Win for Consumers and Workers Amid Ongoing Struggle; Back Pay Ordered

 

SPRINGFIELD-An administrative law judge has ruled that the Rauner administration violated state labor law when last year it unilaterally imposed limits on overtime care in a state program to provide home healthcare for people with disabilities.

The Sept. 5 ruling found that the administration illegally implemented a cap on overtime hours of home care workers without first bargaining with SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the union for some 28,000 workers in the Home Services Program (HSP) who care for thousands of people with disabilities. The judge also ordered back pay for these workers, subject to a process administered by the Illinois Labor Relations Board, writing that, “…the overtime policy is a mandatory subject of bargaining and the (s)tate violated the (a)ct when it implemented the same without first bargaining…”

 

The judge further found that the Rauner administration acted illegally when it proceeded to implement its overtime-cap policy via the administrative rulemaking process, instead of bargaining with the home care workers’ union.

 

The Administrative Law Judge’s decision remains open to appeal to the full Illinois Labor Relations Board.

 

Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President Terri Harkin:

 

 “The harm caused by the Rauner Administration’s overtime policy is continuing as consumers are not receiving the hours of care they need and providers are being disciplined for doing nothing more than helping to protect the health and safety of the people for whom they care.  We call on the Rauner Administration to follow the judge’s ruling and immediately rescind its illegal policy.

 

“The ruling is an opportunity for the Rauner administration to abandon both an overtime policy that is harming workers and consumers in the vastly-successful Home Services Program and the “my-way-or-the-highway” posture that is harming taxpayers along with them.

 

“The go-it-alone ways of the Rauner administration, found to be in violation of state law, are part of a pattern of excluding longtime stakeholders in a program that has saved the state hundreds of millions of dollars and kept countless Illinoisans in their homes, instead of costlier nursing facilities.

 

”Whether it is denying these same home care providers a 48-cent raise mandated by the General Assembly, illegally implementing an overtime policy denying care to thousands, or refusing to work in good faith with home care consumers and groups representing people with disabilities, the administration shows itself more interested in a piece-by-piece dismantling of a vital program for Illinoisans seeking independence than with working with stakeholders to build on a successful system of care that already saves Illinois taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”

 

“It doesn’t have to be like this.

 

“Going forward, we encourage the state to work with us to discuss what would be a sensible overtime policy that respects the care for people who deserve to retain their independence and remain in their homes with dignity and respects the work of the providers who provide that care.”

 

Read a copy of the judge’s ruling here.

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48-Cent Raise for Caregivers “Wasn’t a Suggestion” by General Assembly

Says Key Rep. as Rauner Admin. Defies Law;

State Journal-Register, Chicago Tribune on Class Action by SEIU Healthcare Illinois

 

CHICAGO-The 48-cent raise for some 28,000 caregivers in a state program for people with disabilities included in summer’s bipartisan budget agreement “wasn’t a suggestion,” said Rep. Greg Harris, who wrote the law and was quoted in today’s State Journal-Register in a story about a class-action lawsuit filed last week in Cook County to compel the Rauner administration to comply.

 

You can read it here.

 

The Rauner administration is making the claim that it isn’t obligated to pay the state’s poorest workforce its raise because of a collective bargaining agreement. In fact, SEIU Healthcare Illinois agreed to the raise, mooting the administration claim.

 

As SEIU Healthcare Illinois vice president Terri Harkin said in last week’s Chicago Tribune:

“The law is clear: the state is required to implement statutory minimum labor standards — such as minimum wage. … The state is then required to bargain with the union for any increases above the minimum standard by statute. Neither the Labor Act nor the SEIU collective bargaining agreement presents an obstacle to the immediate implementation of the raise required by the statute.”

You can read the Tribune story here.

 

The raise came about with the home care workforce in Illinois in crisis because of low pay that harms consumers because of high turnover and limited choices as they seek to remain in their homes, instead of much-costlier nursing facilities.

 

You can read a copy of the lawsuit here.

 

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New Contract Ratified at Garrison Care in St. Louis

Garrison ratification

Garrison SEIU members recently settled a new contract with management after tense negotiations. Workers were ready to do whatever it would take to win the contract they deserved, voting unanimously to authorize a strike if needed.

In the end, workers won!

  • Shift differential pay.
  • Improved new hire wages.
  • Twelve-month roll-off for discipline.
  • Protections for LGBTQ and veteran statuses.
  • Union orientation for new hires.
  • Across-the-board wage increases each year of the agreement.

When we stand together, we win! Great work, Garrison members!

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Mary Ryder Home SEIU Members Reach New Agreement

Lois MRH TASEIU members at Mary Ryder Home just wrapped up bargaining over their new agreement and won significant improvements. Workers stuck together and took action to win – circulating petitions and even delivering black roses to management.

Employees who were impacted by the St. Louis minimum wage increase will keep that $10/hour, despite the fact that the minimum wage law was rescinded on August 28. In addition, those who did not receive an increase from the minimum wage will get a 2% raise.

Mary Ryder management insisted on striking our union security clause from the contract, emboldened by the passage of Right to Work earlier this year. Workers stood strong to protect our union rights, and upon filing of signatures in Jefferson City to delay RTW and allow voters the opportunity to have a say on the 2018 ballot, management finally relented.

Congratulations to our SEIU members at Mary Ryder Home!

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