Healthcare Workers From Across the City Say Hospital Lobbying Group Fails to Represent Interests of Safety Net Facilities in Communities of Color, Drives Down Wages, and Ignores the Needs of the Primarily Female-led Workforce.
CHICAGO – Over 100 hospital workers and allies from throughout the city called on the Illinois Health & Hospital Association (IHA) to stop paying poverty level wages to its frontline workforce. Many hospital workers make just above the minimum wage, despite the fact that these hospitals are pillars and economic drivers in their communities. Women of color occupy a large number of the jobs at hospitals in black and brown neighborhoods, which also exacerbates the level of poverty in households in these communities.
One such woman is Isabelle Plaire. She’s worked as a transport worker at Ingalls Hospital for 22 years, but only makes a little over $14 an hour.
“I know what I’m worth. The IHA and Ingalls know what I’m worth too, but they make me live in poverty anyway,” said Isabelle. “I deserve a living wage. I deserve a union.”
She helps deliver healthcare, but ironically can’t afford the healthcare offered by Ingalls. The out-of-pocket costs are prohibitive. “You can’t go to the doctor because you’ll be in debt,” Isabelle said.
Wellington Thomas, an Emergency Tech at Loretto Hospital, told of how workers with SEIU Healthcare teamed up with workers from non-union hospitals to successfully stop the IHA plan to defund safety-net hospitals. Thomas noted that Loretto is the largest employer in the Austin neighborhood and said the next step to ensuring good jobs for Austin is for Loretto to settle a fair contract.
“Loretto needs to fight to end poverty in Austin, not be a cause of it. We’re fighting to make Austin a better place and we’re asking Loretto to be a partner to do that,” said Wellington.
Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana, spoke about how the Illinois Hospital Association is the mouthpiece for large, greedy hospitals who don’t pay their fair share in taxes and don’t provide adequate care to poor black and brown communities.
“We’re drawing a line in the sand today to say to the IHA that we stopped your plan to take funding away from Loretto and we’ll stand in your way unless and until you make workers and patient care your priority,” said Kelley.
“Hospital workers in Chicago will stand against the IHA agenda that cuts corners in patient care and keeps wages for frontline workers low while raising executive salaries,” he added.
Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims and Democratic nominee for Cook County Commissioner District 1 Brandon Johnson spoke in support of workers.
Media Advisory: Press Conference on Thursday, April 19th at Noon
Healthcare Workers From Across the City Say Hospital Lobbying Group Fails to Represent Interests of Safety Net Facilities in Communities of Color, Drives Down Wages and Ignores the Needs of the Primarily Female-led Workforce
CHICAGO–Hospital workers from throughout the city will call on the Illinois Health & Hospital Association (IHA) to stop paying poverty level wages to its frontline workforce. Many hospital workers make just above the minimum wage, despite the fact that these hospitals are pillars and economic drivers in their communities. Women of color occupy a large number of the jobs at hospitals in Black and Brown neighborhoods, which also exacerbates the level of poverty in households in these communities. The IHA, which represents the hospital industry, perpetuate this anti-worker approach through its corporate driven agenda that drives down wages and the IHA, through its CEOs, create a culture of fear and intimidation against workers who want to form a union. Loretto hospital is an example of IHA greed, which recently wanted to starve funding for this facility and drive more funding to already wealthy hospital systems. For too long the IHA has presented itself as a proponent of community healthcare through a valued workforce, when in fact, it been the opposite, workers argue.
Press conference featuring hospital workers, political leaders and candidates.
12 noon, Thursday, April 19th, 2018
Loretto Hospital, 645 S. Central Ave, Chicago, IL (rally at SE corner of Flournoy & Central Ave)
Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois/Indiana
Wellington Thomas, Emergency Tech, Loretto Hospital
Isabelle Plaire, Transport Worker, Ingalls Hospital
Deborah Sims, Commissioner for the 5th District of Cook County
Brandon Johnson, Democratic candidate for Cook County Board of Commissioners, 1st District
*Spanish language interviews available upon request.
We wanted to keep you informed on our ongoing lawsuit involving the 48-cent raises that we won in last summer’s budget agreement, which Governor Rauner has been illegally withholding.
In March, a Judge ruled with us, stating that Rauner’s actions in withholding the raises were illegal and ordered him to implement our 48-cent raises and pay out the back pay to August 5, 2017 that is owed.
Unfortunately, Governor Rauner decided to appeal that decision instead of doing the right thing and following the law. Rauner also requested to stay our raises during the appeal process, meaning he would not have to pay anything out until the appeal is settled.
Yesterday, a Judge granted Rauner’s request for the stay but also ordered DHS to set aside the money for our raises and our back pay in a special account, to ensure the money is there whenever the case is settled. This means that while Rauner will not have to pay out the raises while the court case continues, we do have a guarantee that the money we are owed will be protected and waiting for us if and when we win the next case. This is an important protection and we are happy the Judge made this decision.
While we continue to fight for our raises in the courts and in our communities, there are two great upcoming opportunities to get involved:
1. Attend one of our April home care membership meetings, click here to view all of the meeting locations and start times.
2. Mark your calendar for May 16 and plan to attend our next big Home Care Lobby Day. More details will be coming soon.
We hope to see you at a membership meeting and at Lobby Day. We’re not backing down and we will keep fighting Governor Rauner until we get every penny that we are owed!
Alberta Walker, Personal Assistant
SEIU HCIIMK Executive Board
Many home child care providers have contacted SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana with questions and concerns about mailings they have received from private companies regarding new mandates that certain licensed child care homes test their water for lead.
Here’s What you need to know:
If you have any questions about lead pipe testing, we encourage you to reach out to your licensing representative.
Did you know the SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana child care members are eligible for Family Child Care Insurance through our member benefits? Click this link to find out more!
If you are not an SEIU Healthcare Illinois Member and would like to become a member, click this link.
Saturday, April 21
Aurora: 1 p.m. at the Aurora Public Library
101 S. River Street, Aurora, IL
Saturday, April 28
South Suburbs: 9:30 a.m. at a *New Location*
Markham Public Library, 16640 S. Kedzie Ave., Markham, IL
Chicago: 10 a.m. at the SEIU Office
2229 S. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL
Rockford: 10 a.m. at the SEIU Office
4920 E. State Street, Rockford, IL
Peoria: 10 a.m. at the SEIU Office
400 N.E. Jefferson Street, Peoria, IL
Marion: 10 a.m. at AFSCME Union Hall
3909 Ernestine Drive, Marion, IL
Metro East: 10:30 a.m. at the East St. Louis Public Library
5300 State Street, East St. Louis, IL
Springfield: 11 a.m. at the SEIU Office
701 S. 2nd Street, Springfield, IL
Workers are warning owner Israel Davis that he’s got two strikes against him – both literally and figuratively – and they are prepared to give him strike three if necessary.
Today, Veracare workers voted to end their 2nd unfair labor practice strike — and to return to work on Tuesday morning.
It’s never an easy decision to go on strike—but owner Israel Davis’ continuing unfair labor practices have given them no other choice. That’s why they went on a one-day strike on MLK Day, and why they went on this strike—for a week.
Workers say they are are ending this second strike at this time for a couple of reasons—
One—we have succeeded in escalating our fight to make Israel Davis do the right thing and stop breaking labor law and settle a fair contract.
Two—they are concerned about their residents at Veracare. While it is entirely Israel Davis’ responsibility to ensure their care—and he had 10 days’ notice before this second strike to do so—workers say their hearts go out to them because it seems that that Israel Davis has failed in his responsibility to ensure them the quality care they need and deserve. It’s our understanding that the state has been in inspecting every day of the strike because of care concerns.
The workers’ fight to have their rights and dignity respected on the job, to have Israel Davis stop breaking labor law, and to win the fair contract they need and deserve—that fight goes on. And, if necessary, they will go on strike again. This was the workers’ second strike and in baseball it takes three strikes. Workers are warning owner Israel Davis that he’s got two strikes against him – both literally and figuratively – and they are prepared to give him strike three if necessary.
We’ll see what it takes to make Israel Davis throw out his lawbreaking and start doing the right thing.
“It’s what YOU make it!”
This phrase encapsulates how Jimmie Bluford feels about his union and what he wants everyone to take away from his experience as a leader of his union. Jimmie is a lifelong Kansas City resident and he has been employed as an Environmental Services/Floor Tech for fourteen years at Research Medical Center.
“We’re the ones that make up the union and we’ve got to stand up fro each other,” said Mr. Bluford.
Jimmie has been an active member in our union since his facility was organized and was elected as a shop steward from the beginning. When asked about why he got involved in the first place, Jimmie said, “I saw how employees were being treated without dignity and respect and it was time we had a voice.”
Not only has Jimmie stood up and become a leader in the shop, he has also been very active with community allies and taken part in actions for the Fight for $15, Black Lives Matter, and also stood with those marching during the New Poor People’s Campaign that kicked off this year.
As part of Jimmie’s dedication, he also serves on the SEIU Missouri/Kansas State Council and really enjoys making sure that the candidates that come to the our union seeking endorsements are on the right side of the issues and that they stand for the same things that we all are fighting for.
When asked about some of his proudest moments as a union leader, Jimmie smiles and says that it has to be the contract rallies. “I really enjoyed seeing everyone out there supporting higher wages and better benefits for everybody, but I also liked seeing management sweat!”
He continued saying, “those moments when everyone is rallying together shows what power we have when we are united.”
When he is not standing with his co-workers and making sure people understand their rights on the job, Jimmie also enjoys casting a line into some local fishing spots around the area and likes bringing crappie back home the best.
Jimmie is also a happy newlywed that stresses communication is key to any successful marriage. Communication is something he takes pride in as a part of his union experience too. “I try to express to new people that it’s about more than just a job, it’s about higher wages, better benefits, and then making sure that our community is better.”
Jimmie’s service as a steward, on the state council, and on two bargaining teams shows he is committed to making the lives of his union members and those in his community better.
Thanks for all you do, Mr. Bluford!
Sunday’s Easter Vigil on the Veracare strike line garnered TV coverage from WGN, ABC7, NBC5, & FOX32. Watch it all below.