February 2018

YMCA Child Care Workers to Picket, Announce Strike Vote

CHICAGO—Child care workers will engage in a picket at the headquarters of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago this Wednesday, February 21st to protest poverty wages, understaffing and unfair labor practices. The picket will be followed by a press conference announcing the results of a vote to go on an unfair labor practice strike.


Y is a Poverty Employer_580On Monday, child care and early learning workers at 10 sites across Chicago held a strike vote following the YMCA’s continued refusal to respect labor law and failure to live up to the organization’s stated commitment to “disrupt the cycle of poverty.”


Workers will be joined by parents, community members and political leaders Commisioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia and Rep. Litesa Wallace as they discuss the patterns of disinvestment in communities of color and poverty wages, and to announce the results of the strike vote.



Picket and Press Conference of YMCA Child Care Workers, Parents and Community Members Announcing Results of Historic Strike Vote


Wednesday February 21st

4:30 PM: Picket line

5:30 PM: Press Conference. Workers will be joined by YMCA parents, community advocates and community leaders, including:

Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, Cook County Board of Commissioners

Rep. Litesa Wallace, Illinois State House of Representatives

Alderman Jason Ervin, Chicago City Council

Brandon Johnson, Candidate for Cook County Board of Commissioners

Delia Ramirez, Candidiate for Illinois State House of Representatives District 4

Ram Villivalam, Candidate for Illinois State Senate District 8

Pilsen Alliance


YMCA of Metro Chicago HQ

1030 W Van Buren St, Chicago, IL 60607



To announce the results of a historic strike vote by YMCA child care workers who have endured unfair labor practices, poverty wages and short staffing at the hands of an organization which claims to “disrupt the cycle of poverty.”


The YMCA’s poverty wages create a short-staffing crisis at YMCA-run child care centers that provide care for low-income families. There are currently 50 unfilled child care positions at the YMCA due to high turnover and low wages. YMCA management has called workers’ proposals for living wages “a fantasy” while child care workers and low-income families bear the brunt of the Y’s poverty wages and the YMCA CEO Dick Malone makes $300 per hour. 


In the past year, the YMCA of Metro Chicago has closed two locations on the South and West sides of Chicago, while investing heavily in improvements to facilities in Chicago’s north side and suburbs. The closures of sites in South Chicago and Logan Square displaced families from child care and central community spaces.

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On Valentine’s Day, Personal Assistants Call On Governor Rauner to ‘Have a Heart’


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.

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DORS Home Care: Taking Action for Our Raises while Rauner Proposes to Eliminate Them

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. 

Turn out to one of our statewide membership meetings scheduled for Saturday, February 24 to discuss our next steps – click here to view all the details. 

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.

Let’s keep sticking together and fighting back! Join us at a membership meeting on Saturday, February 24 and get involved. 

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DOA Home Care Update: What’s in Rauner’s Proposed Budget?

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!

We have statewide membership meetings scheduled for Saturday, February 24 to discuss our next steps – click here to view all the details and make sure you’re there. 

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. 

Turn out to one of our membership meetings Saturday, February 24 and join the fight!

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Illinois Must Invest In-NOT Defund-Home Healthcare for Seniors, People With Disabilities

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.”


Rauner Home Care Cut FINAL

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Gov. Rauner’s Budget is Out-of-Whack

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.”



RELATED: Caregivers Coalition Response to the Governor’s Budget Address: Illinois Must Invest In-NOT Defund-Home Healthcare for Seniors, People With Disabilities


Rauner Budget Cuts Graphics 3 in one home care medicaid child care instagram

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With Gov. Rauner’s State Budget Address Looming, Federal Budget Deal Increases Child Care Funding by $5.8 Billion

Will He Use Funds to Restore Program He Has Attacked?




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.

Rauner Cuts Child Care 2015 and 2017 FB 

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?



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Hospital Workers Join the Poor People’s Campaign

18.02.12 Lakeena PPC

Hospital workers joined fast food workers today on the 50th anniversary of the historic Memphis sanitation strike, which became a rallying cry of the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign to end poverty and racism led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  A couple years before, in 1966, Dr. King traveled to Chicago’s Marquette Park neighborhood to fight for fair housing and equal opportunities for poor people.  He endured a hateful mob to fight for poor people. Today, as part of a new Poor People’s Campaign led by faith leaders like Rev. Barber and workers, hospital workers marched to Marquette Park calling for a $15 minimum wage and strong unions.

Here’s hospital worker Lakeena Whitfield telling why she’s joined the new Poor People’s Campaign.

Statement by LaKeena Whitfield

Good afternoon. My name is LaKeena Whitfield. I am a patient care technician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. I’m here to say that despite snow, hail or rain, hospital workers are demanding fifteen dollars as a minimum wage and the right to form a union free of intimidation.

In 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in this community fighting for fair housing and equal opportunities for poor people. A few years later, Dr. King stood with sanitation workers in Memphis to fight for fair wages and the right for workers to form a union. We’re still engaged in that fight.


Workers like me are the unseen faces of hospital work. If transportation workers, housekeepers and laundry workers don’t do their jobs well – if medical equipment isn’t sterilized and patients don’t get monitored and cleaned — then the doctors and nurses can’t perform their jobs.

The foundational work that keep hospitals open is done by people like me – workers who are mostly women and mainly women of color.

18.02.12 Marching Banner PPC

I started as a housekeeper four years ago making a little more than eleven dollars an hour. But the work I did sometimes could be health and life threatening. There was a time that I had to clean rooms that could have been contaminated with the Ebola virus. That’s how serious housekeeping work in a hospital can get.

I went back to school to get my certification as a certified nursing assistant or patient care technician. People who do the work I do get to know patients better than doctors and nurses ever will.

I’m the one who cleans them, makes them feel comfortable. I talk to them about their families and sometimes I comfort them when they are having a bad day.

That also goes a long way in healthcare.

18.02.12 Marching bullhorn PPC

Today, far too many hospital workers can’t afford health insurance. Some workers depend on financial assistance to make ends meet. That’s not fair to the taxpayers because hospitals make too much money NOT to pay a living wage and offer affordable health insurance.

Hospital work is worth more!

I say to Dr. King, “Thank you for standing for me. Thank you for giving your life for workers like me.

“I’ve learned the lesson. Rest in peace, Dr. King. I’ve got this now.”

Thank you.




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DNC Deputy Chair & Congressman Keith Ellison in St. Louis to Push for Economic Justice

Keith Ellison

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.

  • WHEN: Saturday, February 10 immediately following the “Raise the Wage” town hall meeting (around 1pm)
  • WHERE: SEIU strike line outside of Christian Care Home at 800 Chambers Rd. in Ferguson



ChristianNHStrike_worker with sign


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ResCare Home Health TA Summary

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