Legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $15 for home health care workers who serve people with disabilities cleared the Illinois General Assembly Wednesday.
The bill, which also seeks to protect health insurance and training for the caregivers, was approved in the House by a 67-44 vote. It passed the Senate last week.
A measure that would preserve health insurance and training for child care workers also passed the Illinois General Assembly today, after winning approval in the House by a 68-43 vote. The Senate approved the bill last month.
SEIU* Healthcare Illinois, the union representing home care workers in the state, advocated for the legislation.
Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, said passage of the bills "marks a big step in rolling back" Gov. Bruce Rauner's "overreach" impacting the state's caregiving system. Kelleher released the following statement:
Today's votes were a positive step in preserving a system of care that has served Illinois well, allowing working parents a pathway to the Middle Class, giving seniors and people with disabilities choice and independence in their care, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars and fulfilling our moral obligations to take care of our neighbor.
Child care and home healthcare have been under relentless assault by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who has chosen to use the pain of our state's most vulnerable populations as a tool to extract radical concessions and score political victories that have NOTHING to do with the welfare of our state.
It's too bad that Republicans who formerly supported these vital programs for their constituents have been silenced by Gov. Rauner, who has injected politics into what both sides of the aisle, for decades, have considered good policy.
The legislation that passed will preserve the training that keeps the cared-for safe; preserve the health insurance that keeps the caregiving workforce healthy and saves taxpayer dollars; and ensure that the lowest-paid workforce in the state is able to stay on the job and provide a continuity in care for seniors, children and people with disabilities.
Our workers and the people for whom they care have suffered unduly because of Bruce Rauner's heartless choices. Today, our General Assembly did the right thing both morally and economically. This marks a big step in rolling back the Rauner overreach and ensuring that everyone in Illinois who is in need of care can get it.
*The SEIU Illinois Council sponsors this website.