If you missed our telephone town hall meeting for home care aides in the Community Care Program last night, below you’ll find a recap of what was discussed.
We Won a Raise for Community Care Home Care Workers!
This legislative session we kicked off a big campaign to raise wages for every home care aide in the Community Care Program to create a $13 per hour minimum wage.
Low wages have led to a high turnover rate and that hurts the care that our seniors receive. Every senior deserves quality home care services, and every home care worker deserves a wage they can support themselves on for the important work that they do. We took that message to our state lawmakers, to the governor, and to the general public because action needed to be taken immediately to address the growing workforce shortage.
Hundreds of home care aides took action, from rallying in Springfield, speaking out in the media, lobbying our lawmakers, and making personal phone calls to elected officials.
We are excited to announce that all of that hard work paid off! State lawmakers and Governor Pritzker heard us loud and clear and included nearly $100 million in the state budget to fund a raise for every Illinois home care aide and to set a new minimum wage of $13 across the state!
Our next steps are to go back to the bargaining table and negotiate with our employers about exactly how and when our raises will go into effect.
We are going to fight to get the raises implemented statewide as soon as possible but it’s going to take all of us getting involved to pressure our employers to do the right thing. We also need to be ready to fight back against any attempt from our employers to get concessions – we’re only going forward from here!
If you’re ready to get involved in the fight to get our raises implemented as soon as possible, call our Member Resource Center at 866-933-7348.
Celebrating Passage of the Fair Tax Amendment
We can finally celebrate passage of the Fair Tax Amendment which will allow voters to decide if the wealthy should pay their fair share. Right now, home care workers and millionaires pay the same percent of income tax and we know that’s just not fair.
For years, Illinois’ flat income tax disproportionately burdened working families. A Fair Tax will make sure the wealthy pay their fair share, that’s why we have worked on this with allies for years.
Under the current Fair Tax proposal, 97% of Illinois residents would get an income tax break, while those making $250,000 or more a year will see their taxes go up.
When the rich pay their fair share, we will be able to fund higher wages for home care workers and expanded services for seniors and people with disabilities. It will allow for our communities to have the resources necessary to thrive, not just survive.
While this is a wonderful achievement, it also means we’ve got lots of work to do between now and November 2020. Stay tuned for opportunities to help us make the Fair Tax a reality in Illinois.
Help at Home Arbitration Update
We have another update to our ongoing arbitration with Help at Home over raises they incorrectly implemented for thousands of workers.
We won the last raise that home care aides received back in 2017 and HAH workers negotiated with management to win a $.73 increase. Unfortunately, Help at Home failed to correctly implement that raise and retro pay to thousands of workers. Some workers received the correct amount, but many workers only received a small portion of the raise, while some workers did not receive any raise at all.
We were set to present our case to an arbitrator on May 21, after putting pressure on HAH and pushing our grievance for the past year and a half. However, Help at Home actually proposed a path towards settlement with our union before the arbitration even began. So, we agreed to continue meeting with Help at Home in hopes that we can solve this issue.
Our calculations show that HAH owed hundreds of thousands of dollars to at least 12,000 workers between December 2017 and May 2018. Help at Home claims they only owe 4,000 workers. As you can see, that is still a huge discrepancy.
We met with Help at Home for settlement discussions again May 31 and reviewed the data they provided us but there is still more data owed in order to prove they have in fact paid workers their raises. Our next meeting date is this June 10. If we are not able to come to an agreement at that time, we will follow through with our arbitration on June 12.
We will not let up on this issue until they can prove they have correctly paid our members. This fight is so important especially now that we just won another raise. We need to make sure that this problem doesn’t happen again, and we do that by holding management at Help at Home accountable.
We will continue to keep you all updated on this issue.
New Eligibility Rules for Health Insurance
More agency home care workers are now eligible for our union’s health insurance!
Thanks to the efforts of Executive Board member Patricia Evans, who is a Help at Home home care aide, more hours will count towards a workers’ eligibility to obtain the union’s free health insurance.
Since 2009, the only hours that counted towards eligibility for our health insurance were hours worked for your Community Care Program client and your DORS consumer, Family Medical Leave Act hours, and Workers’ Compensation hours.
Thanks to Evans’s efforts, effective June 1, 2019, paid sick time hours, paid in-service training hours and paid vacation hours will also count toward a worker’s eligibility for health insurance
This is a huge victory for all workers. Including these hours allows for more home care workers to qualify for health insurance. This just speaks to how important it is to make sure that home care workers are always at the table.
This legislative session, SEIU members also helped pass three immigrant justice bills.
Thee bills will ensure equitable access to education, uphold Illinois’ longstanding opposition to private prisons and extend that to immigration detention centers. They will also prohibit local law enforcement agencies from entering agreements with ICE that deputize officers into immigration agents. These bills will help keep families together and ensure that we continue to be a state that is compassionate to all people.
We’re proud to stand up on these issues and other racial justice campaigns because as a union we are committed to winning social and economic justice for everyone in our communities. No matter our differences, white, black and brown working people just want to do better for our families. Our strength comes from our ability to work together and that’s why we must stand up for each other and unite to fight for the future we all deserve.
Make sure you stay involved in every fight by attending our monthly membership meetings in an area near you. Click here for this month’s locations and times.