October 2017

Parents and Child Care Providers Ask Rauner, Emanuel Why Child Care’s Taking a Backseat to Amazon

Child care providers and parents to speak out against Amazon incentives, demand child care for working families.

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CHICAGO–On November 1st, child care providers and parents will call out Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to scrap social programs like child care while offering Amazon billions in incentives.

In October, Governor Rauner’s leaked budget included a nearly $60 million reduction in child care funding. This cut comes after years of attacks on the Child Care Assistance Program and other social programs at the hands of Governor Rauner. While Mayor Rahm Emanuel claims to invest in early childhood in Chicago, enrollment in early learning programs is dropping while an estimated 130,000 children ages 0-5 in Chicago lack access to publicly funded early childhood education.

Many Chicago area families struggle to pay for child care. At the same time child care costs are soaring, many child care workers are paid minimum wage and lack benefits like health care.

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While families and child care workers struggle, Governor Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are offering $2 billion in corporate subsidies to Amazon in the pursuit of the Amazon headquarters. Child care workers, parents and allies will call on Rauner and Emanuel to commit to providing public funding to make child universally affordable for all families in Chicago.

WHAT: March from Thompson Center to City Hall, Press Conference at City Hall, 5th Floor

WHEN: Wednesday, November 1st, 10:15

VISUALS:  child care providers and parents, children, amazon boxes, signs

Where: Starts in front of Thompson Center, 100 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

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See more photos from the event here.

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Hospital Workers and State Lawmakers Rally in Support of Protecting Safety Net Hospitals

Onzel Brown, Roseland Hospital worker and leader, speaks at press event and rallies to protect safety net hospitals.

Onzel Brown, Roseland Hospital worker and leader, speaks at press event and rallies to protect safety net hospitals.

(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.

Alberta Mitchell, Loretto Hospital, at Springfield lobby day.

Alberta Mitchell, Loretto Hospital, at Springfield lobby day.

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

 

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BREAKING: Tentative Agreement Reached with Community Care Systems Inc.!

Our union bargaining team is happy to announce that we have reached a Tentative Agreement with management at Community Care Systems Inc. 

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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:

  • Raises of at least $.72 retroactive to 8/1/17, with additional money for more senior workers!
  • $1.77 increase for our health insurance.
  • Paid sick time for workers covered by the Paid Sick Time Ordinance in Cook County.
  • Protected our mileage reimbursement at $.40/mile.
  • Travel time to be paid at our regular wage.
  • Contract expiration date of 7/31/20, with the right to negotiate additional raises and other improvements when we win rate increases.
  • Improved union rights to make our union stronger.

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!

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BREAKING: Injunction Request Filed to Stop Gov. Rauner’s Overtime Cuts for People with Disabilities

Caregivers Risk Bankruptcy, Losing Homes in “Irreparable Harm” From “Draconian” Policy Already Found Illegal*

 

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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.

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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.

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WGN’s Sunday Spin: Rep. Moeller Warns of Rauner-Driven “Privatization” of Successful Community Care Program for Seniors

Controversial Task Force Needs “To Be Transparent”

State-Representative-Anna-Moeller-1024x427CHICAGO – 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.

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Governor’s Budget Slashes Nearly $60 Million from Child Care

In another hit to working families, Governor’s Budget cuts $59.4 Million in funding for federally mandated Child Care Assistance Program extension despite legislature approval.

Rauner Cuts Child Care no text

In budget documents released Tuesday, Governor Rauner declared he would cut nearly $60 million for an extension of the Child Care Assistance Program that was both mandated by the federal government and approved by the state legislature. That funding would go to expand CCAP eligibility for working families from six to twelve months, per the federal block grant, and ensure that families have the continuity of care they need.

Currently, Illinois’ CCAP eligibility is re-determined every 6 months, and children can lose access to their care setting, even if they are eligible again a short time after they are removed from the program. This creates a reality where kids churn in and out of child care settings and subsidy payments, leading to instability that impacts their development and school readiness, and adds additional burdens to working parents.

To remedy this instability, the 2014 federal reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) extended eligibility from six months to twelve months meaning the state cannot end assistance to families for modest income changes, or temporary changes in work, training, or education activities, within 12 months of program approval.

Governor Rauner and Secretary Dimas in the Department of Human Services have repeatedly requested waivers from the federal government to delay implementation of this change that would be beneficial to families and children across Illinois. This waiver has resulted in the nearly $60 Million being cut from CCAP in the budget.

CCAP has yet to fully recover from the devastating cuts that the Governor implemented in 2015. The program currently serves nearly 30,000 fewer children now than before those eligibility restrictions were put in place. Illinois has not only the opportunity, but the federal mandate, to improve its program to best serve families, and instead the Governor is using another budget crisis of his creation to harm the parents and children who are most in need of help.

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Video: Health Systems & Hospital Leaders Honored at 2017 Leadership Assembly!

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HCII hospital workers join other leaders from home care, nursing homes and child care to rally at the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4th. Workers demanded a starting wage of $15 an hour and the “right to join a union!”

(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

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October Home Care Membership Meetings

Oct HC Member Meetings not chicago

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Gov. Rauner Consequences Exposed: New SEIU Healthcare Radio Ad Highlights Harm to People with Disabilities from Dangerous OT Cuts to Care

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.”

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Rauner Will Receive Nearly $300 MILLION in Giveaways Under Regressive GOP Tax Plan

 

Questions Abound: Is Tycoon STILL Passing Tax Burden Onto Illinois? How?

Like Trump, Gov. .01% Continues to Hide FULL Tax Returns

CHICAGO-Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, one of the richest men in America, will receive nearly $300 million in benefits under the regressive GOP tax plan currently up for debate in the Congress.

Our best estimate is that, based on his 2015 income of $188.2 million, the Republican reduction in rates for the richest Americans would net Rauner an annual giveaway of $3.7 million. And the Republican proposal to eliminate the federal estate tax on the wealthiest Americans would net Rauner a one-time windfall of $294 MILLION on the wealth of someone who famously described himself as a member of the “point zero one percent.”

The Republican plan to shift the tax burden onto working families is ON TOP of exotic tax schemes, including Cayman Islands tax shelters, that already have allowed Rauner to avoid paying tens of millions of dollars to Illinois and to the United States, even as services are being slashed and he claims the state budget is “out of whack.”

Nobody can know the full extent of the Rauner tax dodges, given his REFUSAL to release his FULL tax returns, behaving in ways similar to President Donald Trump.

QUESTIONS FOR GOV. RAUNER:

  1. Does he support further tax breaks to billionaires in the new Republican giveaway plan that will lead to higher federal and state deficits?
  2. Will he release his full tax returns so Illinoisans can see the extent to which he is placing the burden on them? If not, why not?
  3. Does he support eliminating the estate tax on his enormous wealth?
  4. By how many millions of dollars is Rauner still benefiting from the carried interest loophole for private equity executives, which the Republican tax plan apparently will not close?

WHAT COULD $300 MILLION COVER? 

  1. The Naperville Community School District 203 2015-2016 budget ($263 million).
  2. The total FY2017 appropriation  in Illinois for addiction treatment ($190.8 million).
  3. The entire 2017 budget for the City of Rockford ($260.8 million).

BACKGROUND:

1.    Cut to taxes resulting in increased annual income of about $3.7 million each year, based on average reduction for top 0.1% of filers.

a.    According to the Tax Policy Center, the average percent increase in annual income for the richest filers will be 2.1% (“Preliminary Analysis” table 2). Rauner’s income in 2015 was $188.2 million. $188.2 million * 2.1% = $3.7 million.

b.    Results for the super-rich will vary based on ability to take advantage of various tax breaks: see list titled “High-Income Households Would Receive Large Benefits” in CBPP analysis for some notable examples. The TPC model cited above looks at tax policy as a whole system, rather than being dependent on our ability to pick out particular tax breaks Rauner could use based on his most recent year disclosure of a few pages from his returns.

2.    Elimination of the federal estate tax in its entirety would result in a one-time estimated tax break of $294 million on his immense wealth.

a.    In a recent article “Trump Could Save More Than $1 Billion Under His New Tax Plan,” NY Times reporters point out that eliminating the estate tax alone constitutes a $1.1 billion tax break on Trump’s net worth.

b.    Rauner’s net worth has consistently been estimated at between $500 million and $1 billion (for example his own 2014 statement to the Tribune); we use $750 million net worth, halfway between the two figures, in this estimate.

c.     The basic structure of the estate tax is a 40% rate for the richest, and a $5.49 million maximum credit (details from IRS). $750 million * 40% – $5.49 million = $294 million

 

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