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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
12:53pm
Thu Mar 31, 2016

O'Hare Baggage Handlers, Security Officers Strike Over 'Unfair Labor Practices' (VIDEO) (UPDATED)

Progress Illinois provides highlights from Thursday's contract workers' strike at O'Hare International Airport, which included security officers, baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, custodians and wheelchair attendants. The workers held a one-day strike against "unfair labor practices."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:02pm
Wed Mar 30, 2016

Health Care Union, Illinois Politicians Call Rauner A 'Deadbeat' Governor

State lawmakers and the union representing Illinois home care workers say Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's "deadbeat approach to governing" has resulted in a "crisis in care" for the state's most vulnerable residents.

According to the union, Illinois has a more than $235 million backlog in payments to home health care service providers, and 2,400 seniors have allegedly "fallen through the cracks as a result."

"There are real human consequences of the governor being a deadbeat. These agencies are essentially being asked to bankroll the lack of a state budget," Terri Harkin, vice president of the Home Care Division at SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, said during a news conference at the Thompson Center.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
6:10pm
Wed Mar 16, 2016

Rauner Takes A Hit In Illinois' Primary Elections

Progress Illinois breaks down the winners and losers in some key legislative races in which stakes were high for Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. 

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
5:25pm
Tue Feb 23, 2016

Candidates In 2nd Senate District Clash On Charter Schools, Progressive Credentials

Progress Illinois previews the Democratic primary race between Angelica Alfaro and Omar Aquino, who are competing for the Illinois Senate seat being vacated by retiring state Sen. William Delgado (D-Chicago).

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
7:05pm
Mon Feb 8, 2016

Travis Campaign Calls Mitchell A 'Rauner Democrat' In 26th District Race

Jhatayn "Jay" Travis, a community organizer who is challenging incumbent state Rep. Christian Mitchell in the 26th District Democratic primary, took jabs Monday at her opponent during a press conference with members of the Chicago Teachers Union and a few elected officials.

U.S. Rep. Danny Davis (7th) joined Chicago Alds. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) and Brendan Reilly (42nd) at the press conference, held at the Billy Goat Tavern on Michigan Avenue, to tout their support of Travis, who made an unsuccessful bid to unseat Mitchell in 2014.

Travis' campaign is calling Mitchell a "Rauner Democrat," because the incumbent allegedly shares "elite donors and a political agenda" with Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

"He receives over $200,000 from the very same interests he claims to be fighting against, and these are also the very same interests that back a governor who has held the needs of families and the services that they need hostage in this indefensible budget impasse," said Travis, former executive director of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization (KOCO). "So I would say to you, it's time that we have representation in the 26th District that stands with the people and not with corporate interests."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:44pm
Tue Feb 2, 2016

With State Owing Agency $1 Million, Chicago Home Care Service Struggles To Keep Doors Open (UPDATED)

A Chicago-based home care service agency is on the verge of having to cut payroll costs in half for its 250-member workforce as a direct result of the ongoing state budget impasse.

Family Home Service, Inc. provides in-home services to more than 500 seniors and people with disabilities in Chicago.

The state owes the agency, which has been operating on bank credit during the more than seven-monthlong budget impasse, approximately $1 million for services that have been performed since July 1, the start of the current fiscal year.

Family Home Service's Director Marsha Holmes told reporters Tuesday morning that the agency has exhausted its line of credit and cannot obtain another loan. If the current budget situation continues much longer, Family Home Service could be forced to shut down, Holmes said.

"Our elderly and disabled population rely on our workers. They don't want to face uncertainty," Holmes said at Family Home Service's offices, 1040 W. Huron St. "What happens if they have to face uncertainty if our doors happen to close? They have built relationships with their home care workers. That is why a stable workforce is so important in this home care industry."

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:24pm
Wed Jan 20, 2016

Advocates Push For State Legislation To Protect Home Services Eligibility

U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL,9), state Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and other advocates for seniors and people with disabilities sought to rally support Wednesday for proposed state legislation aimed at preventing the governor from making eligibility requirements tougher for home services programs.

Harris is spearheading the bill, HB 4351, in the state legislature.

The measure involves the Determination of Need (DON) score, which sets eligibility for the Home Services Program for people with disabilities and the Community Care Program for low-income seniors. Through the programs, seniors and people with disabilities are connected to personal attendants who can assist them at their homes.

Under Harris' proposal, the minimum eligibility DON score could not be raised above the current figure of 29. Rauner in the past has proposed raising the DON score from 29 to 37 as a means to cut costs. 

"Nearly 40,000 seniors and people with disabilities are estimated to lose their essential home care if the governor were to have his way," Schakowsky said during a press conference at the Thompson Center. "And countless more would be denied (services) in the future. Shame on Governor Rauner."

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