(Scroll below to see videos and speeches from the rally and press event).
(October 25th, 2017, Springfield, IL) — Hospital workers gathered in the Rotunda of the State Capitol with state lawmakers to hold a press event and rally about the vital need to protect safety net hospitals. During the fall veto session lawmakers have begun debating a proposed hospital provider assessment with a new funding formula.
Rally & Lobby Day Recap: Hospital Workers Rally to Protect Safety Nets
Chicago safety net hospital workers from Roseland, Loretto, Jackson Park, as well as healthcare workers from Touchette Regional Hospital in East St. Louis spoke out about keeping safety net open and accessible for life-saving emergency room care, drug and alcohol treatment, and other vital service in low-income and communities of color.
Closing any safety net hospitals would utterly devastate low-income communities, create greater health deserts, limit access to healthcare for those on Medicaid, and cost thousands of jobs. Advocates say that now is the critical time to strengthen and invest more resources in safety net hospitals to serve more patients and families.
Tamara Cunningham Touchette Hospital East St Louis
Alberta Mitchell, Loretto Hospital
State Representative Juliana Stratton, 5th District
State Senator Emil Jones, III, 14th District
State Senator Daniel Biss, 9th District
State Representative Justin Slaughter, 27th District
State Senator Kimberly Lightford, 4th District
Onzel Brown, Roseland Hospital
Our union bargaining team is happy to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement with management at Community Care Systems Inc.
Community Care home care aides fought in Springfield to win our rate increases and we stood united at the bargaining table to win our raises and fight management’s proposal to slash our mileage. 75 workers shared their personal stories of why any mileage reduction would be harmful, and our bargaining team delivered those stories to management at the negotiating table. Hundreds of workers signed petitions that demanded our raises with no cuts to mileage as well, adding even more pressure at the table.
When we stand together in our union, we win!
Our elected union bargaining team recommends that all union members vote YES to approve our Tentative Agreement. Once members approve, our raises will be on our November 18th paychecks, and our retro checks that contain our back pay will be paid in December. Instructions for voting will be shared out widely very soon – stay tuned.
Here’s what we won in our new agreement:
Keep an eye on your mail and your email for instructions on how to vote and approve this exciting new agreement. Congratulations to all Community Care Systems home care aides on this victory!
Caregivers Risk Bankruptcy, Losing Homes in “Irreparable Harm” From “Draconian” Policy Already Found Illegal*
CHICAGO – The worst is coming to pass as the Rauner administration’s cuts to overtime hours of care for thousands of Illinoisans with disabilities, already found to be illegal in September, are causing “irreparable harm” to low-wage caregivers and must be halted immediately.
That’s the substance contained in a request for an injunction filed Wednesday, Oct. 25, to the Illinois Labor Relations Board by SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which represents the 28,000 workers affected.
Read the request HERE.
The overtime cuts, capping care hours a caregiver can provide at 45 per week, were rolled out in haphazard and tumultuous fashion and went into effect Aug. 1, with the Rauner administration sending the first “three-strikes-and-you’re out” penalties to caregivers and consumers in the Home Services Program just a month later.
The filing shows that, just as was expressly feared in the outrageous rollout of the policy, because of the lost hours and the penalty of suspension and termination, workers are facing homelessness and people with disabilities could be ripped from their homes and forced into much costlier nursing institutions:
“Here, it is indisputable that the (Rauner administration’s) unilateral implementation of its overtime policy is causing injury to (caregivers)….These near-poverty wage workers face the threat of not being able to make mortgage payments, putting their homes at risk…”
At least hundreds of caregivers are already at imminent risk of three-month-long suspensions under the Rauner administration’s three-strikes policy.
“Three months without income is a draconian penalty for these low-wage workers. No one could expect a $13 per hour worker to have the savings to live without income for three months.”
Read the affidavit of an Oak Lawn caregiver, whose 37-year-old son with severe disabilities could be forced into a nursing home because of the policy, here.
Read the affidavit of a Chicago personal assistant who is facing homelessness because of the policy here.
Read the original ruling from an administrative law judge that the Rauner administration policy is unlawful here.
Terri Harkin, SEIU Healthcare Illinois vice president for home care, said of this week’s filing:
“The Rauner administration refused to listen to the fears of caregivers and Illinoisans with disabilities alike as it foisted its illegal policy on Illinois. Now we see the worst is coming to pass, just as was predicted by stakeholders who have been deliberately ignored. This policy must stop immediately. If the Rauner administration won’t do it, we hope the Labor Board and courts will.”
* Personal Assistant and affiant Bob Eli is available for comment from his home in Chicago.
CHICAGO – Speaking to veteran Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson on “The Sunday Spin” on WGN Radio yesterday, Rep. Anna Moeller (D-Elgin) warned against “privatization for the sake of privatization,” an apparent goal of a controversial task force that was initially created to strengthen and protect the Community Care Program (CCP) of home healthcare for some 100,000 seniors of lower incomes.
Rep. Moeller was asked about the recent removal of AARP Illinois and SEIU Healthcare Illinois by the Rauner administration from the task force created in a bipartisan budget compromise this summer as an alternative to the $120 million in cuts to CCP sought by Gov. Rauner.
“Not including (AARP and SEIU Healthcare Illinois) as part of the task force is a detriment to the process…We need to be transparent,” she said.
Rep. Moeller also objected to any changes in the program that would force seniors out of their home and into costlier nursing facilities, a risk introduced by the massive cuts and privatization moves initially sought by the Rauner administration.
“If you can keep people in their homes…that’s the goal of the state,” she said.
You can listen to a clip of the Community Care Program discussion here.
You can listen to the entire episode of “The Sunday Spin” here.
(October 7th, 2017) — SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana hospital leaders joined workers and activists from home healthcare, nursing homes and child care as part of the Union’s annual “Leadership Assembly” held this year at the Chicago Teacher’s Union office. The annual event celebrates the remarkable work and victories from the year, connects leaders with workers from other industries, and fosters a series of educational workshops and planning sessions looking into the future.
The theme of this year’s Leadership Assembly is “Together We Rise” named after a comprehensive outreach program to reconnect, engage, and mobilize all SEIU members in record numbers to strengthen the Union for the long term.
At the Leadership Assembly hospital workers presented a video montage showcasing the incredible work of leaders through speeches, press clips, interviews, photographs, and highlights from actions and marches.
Video: HCII’s Health Systems Leaders Honored at 2017 Leadership Assembly
1000s In Crosshairs as DHS Punitive Policy Advances
Chicago – A new 60-second radio ad featuring a Chicagoan with a disability who is served by the DHS Home Services Program exposes the real-life consequences of Governor Bruce Rauner’s dangerous cuts to overtime care.
The new ad, which began airing Tuesday, October 17, features Jennifer Kostanski, who lost use of her limbs 14 years ago in a spinal injury suffered in a car accident.
The caregiver on whom Jennifer relies now faces suspension for working hours above the new overtime caps put in place by the Rauner administration; hours of care that Kostanski needs to live safely at home.
Nearly 1,000 caregivers have received similar disciplinary notices resulting from the strict cap put in place in August and all are on track for suspensions.
“I’m paralyzed from the chest down. I can’t imagine that I’d have any quality of life without my home care worker. I consider Melissa a godsend; she is my hands. I don’t see why Bruce Rauner is doing this,” Kostanski says in the ad.
Listen to the new ad, titled “Blink” here, which is airing in the Chicago and Springfield markets.
Terri Harkin, a vice president with SEIU Healthcare Illinois, said:
“Jennifer’s story is a prime example of the dire consequences facing people with severe disabilities directly because of Governor Rauner’s strict overtime policy. The governor is threatening to take away trusted, dedicated caregivers from the people who need them most. We hope Gov. Rauner will hear Jennifer’s plea, change course and remove the threat of suspension to caregivers resulting from his illegally implemented policy.”