Home health care workers have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Illinois, demanding the administration of Republican Governor Bruce Rauner pay them a 48 cent per hour raise that state legislators included in the state budget. These homecare providers, primarily women of color, care for people with disabilities for an average hourly wage of 13 dollars an hour, mostly for jobs far less than forty hours a week.
SEIU Healthcare Illinois Communications Director James Muhammad:
[James Muhammad]: “Governor Rauner is obligated to pay the 48 cent raise. These workers do a lot of hard work and save the state a lot of money. We don’t understand what the governor’s resistance to this is. As a matter of fact we feel that he should come to the bargaining table ready to offer a little more in light of what these workers save for the state and what they do for the people they care for.”
Ironically, the Rauner Administration is claiming that the raise needs to be negotiated as part of the workers’ collective bargaining agreement:
[James Muhammad]: “We’ve been in bargaining for two years. They’ve offered no real proposals that really allow workers a path forward. We’ve come to the table time after time, ready to make some progress on the negotiations. However, time after time they tend to come either unprepared or unprepared to do anything. We contend that it’s part of the state budget; it should be paid. Any further increase, obviously, should be bargained. That’s why we filed the lawsuit.”