On Valentine’s Day, Wednesday, February 14, caregivers and people with disabilities held a press conference outside Daley Plaza to call on Governor Bruce Rauner to ‘have a heart’ and release the 48-cent raises that were approved in last summer’s bipartisan budget compromise.
Rauner has refused to release the meager increase to caregivers, who have not seen a raise since December of 2014 and the overwhelming majority of which make only $13 an hour. The $0.48 raise was supposed to have gone into effect on August 5, 2017 per state law:
*P.A. 100-0023, Article 30, Section 30-20:“Within 30 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act of the 100th General Assembly, the hourly wage paid to personal assistants and individual maintenance home health workers [in the DHS Home Services Program] shall be increased by $0.48 per hour”
SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the union representing the 28,000 caregivers affected, filed a class-action lawsuit last year in September, and another hearing on the issue is scheduled for Wednesday.
Iashea Cross has been a Personal Assistant for 7 years now, leaving her job as a reporter to become her sister’s full-time caregiver.
“The 48-cent raise that Bruce Rauner is refusing to pay us would not solve all of my problems, however, it would mean that I could breathe a little easier at night. I wouldn’t be so stressed and constantly worrying about how I’m going to buy groceries,” explained Ms. Cross. “No one who gets into this work does it looking to get rich. We are talking about putting food on the table, buying the medicine we need – just the basic necessities.”
Cardean Jenkins, another PA from the Chicago area added, “It’s time for Governor Rauner to do the right thing. Show us you have a heart, Governor. Stop wasting everyone’s time and taxpayer money on these legal battles and just follow the law and pay our raise!”
Later Wednesday, Rauner released his FY 2019 proposed budget, in which he plans to eliminate the raise workers won AND end the health insurance that thousands of caregivers rely on.
Today, we took action in Chicago calling on Bruce Rauner to have a heart this Valentine’s Day and release our $.48/hour raises!
As you know, the General Assembly passed a budget last summer that included these raises for Personal Assistants and they were set to take effect on August 5, 2017. Governor Rauner refused to pay the raises though and we filed a class-action lawsuit to force him to follow the law.
Today was another hearing in that court case and we were there to make our voices heard. Check out photos from the event on our Facebook page here.
PAs and consumers spoke out to share the hardship this delay has created – from less food on the table for PAs, to consumers who have lost workers because they cannot support themselves on our wages.
Then, after our action Bruce Rauner presented his FY 2019 budget proposal. Believe it or not, Rauner is proposing to eliminate our raises altogether in that budget proposal!
You read that right – Rauner has proposed to eliminate our raises altogether in his budget!
This is unnacceptable and we aren’t backing down.
While we await a decision in the court, we will keep the pressure on Rauner publicly over our raises, his terrible overtime policy, and the change in pay dates.
Our union is the only thing standing in the way of Bruce Rauner’s horrible policies, and we refuse to let him take us backward.
Governor Bruce Rauner gave his budget address today, but we didn’t hear much about what’s really in the details of his proposal.
Well, we took a closer look and you won’t believe what Rauner wants to do.
The raises we won in the state budget last year, that were approved by both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly, would be eliminated under Rauner’s proposal.
You read that right – Rauner wants to rip away the raises that we won and reduce our pay under his new budget!
Home care aides in the Community Care Program went years without any significant raises and we fought hard through our union to win the rate increase last year, but Rauner thinks we deserve less and doesn’t seem to care that lower wages lead to higher turnover, compromising care for our seniors.
This is unacceptable! Not only do we need to mobilize to stop Rauner’s proposed budget, but we also need to get ready to head back to Springfield to win another rate increase.
Caregiving Coalition Budget Response to the Governor’s Budget Address:
SPRINGFIELD-Following is the joint statement of Illinois Caring Across Generations, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, Access Living, Jane Addams Senior Caucus and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s budget address Wednesday:
“At a time when the Illinois senior population is growing and federal Medicaid and other support for people with disabilities is under attack, the governor’s budget address today provided a good opportunity to affirm the state’s longstanding support for investments in home healthcare and community-based supports. Experts, advocates and health professionals all agree that dollars spent to keep seniors and people with disabilities in their homes not only saves taxpayers but leads to better outcomes and independence for consumers.
“Unfortunately, in Illinois the past several years under this governor, we have seen administrative cuts to services, new hurdles to employment, no shift away from segregated institutional housing and threats to the home care workforce, a continuing cycle of low wages and massive proposed decreases in funding.
“In writing off and rolling back agreed upon rate and wage increases for caregivers in the FY 2019 budget, the governor is enhancing the prospect for instability and high turnover in the program, at the very time that the services are in higher demand.
“We call on Gov. Rauner to take a new approach and on the General Assembly to insist on protections for the Community Care Program and the Home Services Program as the budget process moves forward.”
SPRINGFIELD-Following is the response of SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Greg Kelley to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s FY 2019 Budget Address:
“Gov. Bruce Rauner is probably best known for using the budget process to take Illinois hostage for his non-budgetary political demands.
“Now, as he faces re-election, we see priorities that are still out-of-whack, with attacks on child care, safety-net hospitals, Medicaid recipients, as well as people with disabilities and seniors who rely on home healthcare to stay in their homes.
“Some of the “greatest hits” include refusing 12-month eligibility for child care recipients in an already badly-damaged program; a 4 percent rate cut to Medicaid providers; and a rollback or elimination of rate and wage increases for caregivers already at or near poverty.
“And instead of focusing on making sure that greedy corporations and billionaires like him pay their fair share, he seems intent on preserving tax loopholes and a system that benefits those at the very top.
“Gov. Rauner has also made our already-challenging fiscal problems even worse, with credit downgrades, backlogged bills and penalties totaling $1 billion.”
“Under Gov. Rauner, Illinois has lagged in job growth, has led in out-migration and has endured a race to the bottom that has hurt people all over the state, dismantling the social safety net one rung at a time. This budget looks to be just more of the same.”
MEMO TO REPORTERS:
The budget deal passed in Washington last week contains billions in significant new funding for child care, in the form of block grants. So what does that mean for Illinois children?
As his budget address looms Wednesday and with steep cuts to social service programs rumored, will Gov. Bruce Rauner turn his back on the new federal support and continue his hostility to the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP), which today is covering tens of thousands fewer children and families after brutal cuts?
While the Congress and Trump administration have pledged new support for low-income children and families, the Gov. Rauner administration has spent the past three years launching administrative and budgetary attacks on CCAP.
The consequences have been devastating.
Dating back to his administration’s eligibility cuts in 2015, Illinois enjoys the dubious distinction of being among only a handful of states that have experienced their largest single-year decline on record. And Illinois is one of only 18 states where the number of children served dropped by MORE THAN 25 percent over ten years.
In November 2015, as the Rauner cuts were being initiated as the budget impasse began, the program served about 180,000 children. In November last year, the program had about 130,000 served, a decline of 25 percent, DESPITE self-serving claims that the program had been restored (via the now-infamous deal announced by Gov. Rauner ally and former Rep. Ken Dunkin).
Illinois Action for Children has estimated a 30,000-child reduction in the program.
But lawmakers in Washington charted out a new path last week.
The recent bipartisan federal budget deal includes $5.8 billion new dollars for the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), meant to cover an additional 230,000 children, money that will be available to states like Illinois this year.
The budget address is tomorrow:
Will Governor Rauner use these funds to repair the damage he has caused?
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – DNC Deputy Chair and Congressman Keith Ellison is visiting the St. Louis region this weekend to focus on key economic issues for working families like increasing the minimum wage and repealing so-called Right-to-Work.
Among other stops, Congressman Ellison will speak at a “Raise the Wage” Town Hall hosted by Congressman Lacy Clay in Ferguson on Saturday, which will be immediately followed by a visit to nearby workers at a Christian Care Home who have been on strike since December 1, 2017 to fight against unfair labor practices.
Full Details Below for Events on Saturday, February 10:
“Raise the Wage” Town Hall Meeting
· WHAT: Congressman Lacy Clay is hosting a “Raise the Wage” town hall meeting in Ferguson, featuring special guest Congressman Keith Ellison.
· WHEN: Saturday, February 10 at 11am
· WHERE: Wellspring Church at 33 S. Florissant Street in Ferguson
Standing with Workers Fighting Against Unfair Labor Practices
· WHAT: Missouri Democrats and Congressman Keith Ellison will head to outside a Christian Care Home in Ferguson to stand with SEIU workers who have been on strike since December 1, 2017 to fight against unfair labor practices.