The Service Employees International Union (SEIU*) Healthcare Illinois filed a restraining order against the Rauner administration Friday in order "to protect health insurance for thousands of low-wage home healthcare workers in Illinois," according to the labor union.
The legal action follows the admnistration's failure to pay the state's contractual contribution to the health fund for home care workers. According to the union, the administration owes the fund $1.5 million for fiscal year 2015 and $11.8 million for work done between July and October of fiscal year 2016. Because of the administration's failure to pay into the fund, SEIU home care workers "are on the brink of losing their health insurance" and would see their benefts expire on December 31, according to the union. Some 5,000 workers, who earn an average of $15,000 and $18,000 a year, would be affected by the potential health insurance loss.
SEIU Healthcare Illinois President Keith Kelleher released the following statement on the issue:
Gov. Bruce Rauner's extreme agenda is on full display as he seeks to deny basic health insurance for low-wage home healthcare workers who not only struggle just to make ends meet but who provide some of the most important and essential services to protect adults with disabilities.
Gov. Rauner's actions will hurt real people and families like that of Geneva Davis, a home healthcare worker in Chicago who suffers from a compromised immune system and borderline osteoporosis. Ms. Davis, who must work to support herself and help her four grandchildren, had to forgo her doctor's recommendations to take medication for her bone loss because it cost $600 a month, which she simply won't be able to afford without her current insurance. There are thousands more personal stories like hers in Illinois that Gov. Rauner must hear and read to understand the full consequences of his actions.
Home care workers fought extremely hard to gain access to health insurance which we have had in place under our collective bargaining agreements dating back years. But now Gov. Rauner wants to take away the health security from low-wage workers who can barely afford their own day-to-day living expenses.
It is Gov. Rauner's decision to strip home healthcare workers of their health insurance and his decision alone.
We are seeking an immediate reversal of Gov. Rauner's decision to strip health insurance from home healthcare workers who rely on this security. And we call upon all elected officials in Illinois to speak out against Gov. Rauner's cruel and dangerous cuts to working families across Illinois
* The SEIU Illinois Council sponors this website.