April 2018

Hospital Workers Rally to Protest Illinois Hospital Association’s Pro-Poverty, Anti-Union Agenda That Leaves Communities of Color Behind

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.

18.04.19 Loretto Hospital RallySM1

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.

18.04.19 Loretto Hospital RallySM2

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.

18.04.19 Loretto Hospital RallySM3

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Hospital Workers Unite, Call On the Illinois Health & Hospital Association to Lift Wages and Stop Its Anti-Worker Agenda

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.

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DORS 48 Cent Raise UPDATE

dors raises victory_580We 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!

In solidarity,

Alberta Walker, Personal Assistant

SEIU HCIIMK Executive Board

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Child Care Workers Ratify Contract with YMCA after Strike in March

CHICAGO—In a victory for workers, parents and children, child care workers have reached a three-year contract with the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago following a historic unfair labor practice strike on March 1st. The nearly 130 YMCA Early Childhood Education and Child Care workers are represented by SEIU Healthcare of Illinois Indiana.

18.04.18 YMCA One Day Strike 21 for victory post_580

The workers’ March 1st unfair labor practice strike across ten Chicago-area YMCA sites drew the support of multiple elected leaders and candidates as well as faith and community leaders. Prominent supporters who joined YMCA strikers on March 1 include Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia, State Representative Litesa Wallace, State Representative-elect Delia Ramirez, Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey, and Gubernatorial candidates Chris Kennedy and Daniel Biss. Workers signaled their intent to escalate to a second, longer strike by voting to authorize a strike on April 6.

Throughout the contract fight, workers demanded better wages and solutions for the YMCA’s short-staffing crisis.

Through the contract, ratified on Friday, April 13th, the workers won an average of 11% wage increase and time and half pay on holidays. They also improved their working conditions by implementing prep time into their regularly scheduled work hours. These contract wins directly address the low wages endemic to the child care industry and guarantee higher quality care for every child enrolled at the YMCA.

“Nationally, child care workers are among the most underpaid in the workforce—not only are they more likely to live in poverty, but they are also predominately women of color,” said Faith Arnold, Executive Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana. “This contract is not only a victory for YMCA child care workers but for everyone in the industry that is fighting for better wages and better working conditions.”


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Lead Testing for Licensed Child Care Homes


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:

  • In January 2017, a state law was passed to limit children’s exposure to lead.
  • This law changed licensing standards for licensed child care providers and centers, requiring that all licensed child care provider homes and centers constructed before January 1, 2000 must be tested for lead.
  • The notices received by providers were sent by private businesses who provide lead testing services—not by DCFS.
  • At statewide licensing forums, DCFS recently informed providers that the March 31st deadline will not be enforced and urged providers to wait for further information from DCFS before taking action.

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.

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Take the Norma Rae Challenge

Powerful billionaires are using the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME to further rig the economy against working families. We won’t let any court case stand in the way of our fight for the good union jobs our families, communities, and country need. (Learn more about the the Janus v. AFSCME case from this link provided by our sisters and brothers from SEIU Local 1199.)

One way to show you’re standing up for  your co-workers, your community, and yourself through your union is to take the Norma Rae Challenge. Here’s what you can do:
1. Grab a piece of paper, cardboard, poster board, or anything you can write on, and write “UNION” on the sign!
2. Raise the sign above your head—you can stand on your desk or chair, or in your work place.
3. Have a friend take your photo.
4. Upload to your favorite social media site & share it using the hashtags #Union and #WeRise.

Also, if you’d like your picture to appear on this blog post, comment on this Facebook post with your picture.

Take a look at a number of your fellow SEIU HCIIMK sisters and brothers below who have already taken the challenge.

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Our Executive Vice President, Faith Arnold, was one of the first to take the challenge.

Faith Norma Rae

Child care workers at the YMCA of Metro Chicago are fighting for a fair contract and they love their union.

YMCA Norma Rae Challenge

HCIIMK VP Myra Glassman got into the action as well.

Myra Norma Rae

Lorettto hospital workers also took the challenge.

Norma Rae Collage2_hospitalworkers


Here’s Roger, a worker at Northwestern, showing his union pride.

Roger from Northwestern Norma Rae

So did  Samantha, a DORS personal assistant from Bourbonnais.

Samantha Corzine DORS Norma Rae

Home care workers from Indiana also got in the action.

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Angela Campos IN Norma Rae

Shaba Andrich, our VP of nursing homes, enthusiastically jumped on a table to show his union pride.

Shaba Norma Rae

Here’s Marie and her co-workers:

Mariecook 2 Norma Rae_580

Here’s Stephanie showing off her SEIU pride.

Stephanie Barnes Burton Norma Rae_580

Here’s Sherry, Nick, Paula, and Brenda from Missouri:

MO1 Sherry Nick Paula Norma Rae_580

MO2 Sherry Brenda Paula_580



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Time for you to get into the action.  Click on the Facebook link below to share your Norma Rae Challenge picture with us.


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April Home Care Membership Meetings


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

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One Week Unfair Labor Practice Strike Concludes; Veracare Workers Tell Us What’s Next in Fight for Fair Contract

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.

Click here to take a look back at all the action that took place during the week-long unfair labor practice strike at Veracare

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.

  • We’ve had so much community support, including from elected officials, faith leaders and resident families
  • We’ve gotten the word out through media and social media

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.

Veracare Wrap Up Photo Michelle 580

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.


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Member Spotlight: Jimmie Bluford


“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!

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Veracare Easter Vigil Garners Lots of TV Coverage

Sunday’s Easter Vigil on the Veracare strike line garnered TV coverage from WGN, ABC7, NBC5, & FOX32. Watch it all below.







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