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SEIU blasts Rauner over contract talks

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

* Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration is apparently playing hardball with SEIU over a union contract covering 50,000 childcare and home care workers. Negotiations began Monday, even though the contract expires June 30th. Rauner’s opening offer was pretty harsh. From a union insider…

Rauner wants to take away virtually all union benefits that have been bargained for by these employees over the years, including health care, for tens of thousands of low-wage workers. These employees don’t get state-insurance, by the way, but belong to a union-funded plan. Taking health insurance away would represent a real hardship for them.

What’s more, Rauner is demanding that his administration stop collecting dues from workers, a time-tested union-busting tactic.

He’d also cut training-which would adversely affect the quality-of-care for countless seniors and persons with disabilities.

Additionally, as if this were one of his newly-acquired private equity properties, he wants to convert these workers into “independent contractors.” He also wants to remove the state’s neutrality position on the union and make it much harder for workers and the union to communicate.

And even though the contract expires on June 30th, no further talks have been scheduled until - get this - June 23rd.

Oy.

What a summer this is gonna be.

* SEIU Healthcare Illinois Executive Vice President April Verrett, by the way, just issued a press release…

Bruce Rauner’s anti-worker efforts to eliminate bargained-for benefits and protections for home care workers and child care providers would deliberately submerge low-wage workers deeper into poverty.

What the state proposed on the governor’s behalf on Monday, May 18, has NOTHING to do with the public good or budget savings Rauner claims and everything to do with diminishing the voices of working families, punishing political opponents and gathering power. His unprecedented and hostile proposals — which include stripping health care from thousands of workers — would have a devastating impact on the tens of thousands of low-income workers and their families and put the tens of thousands seniors and children who depend on them at risk.

In addition to totally eliminating access to health coverage for workers, Rauner’s team also proposed eliminating essential training like CPR and eliminating the right of workers to have union dues deducted from their paycheck.

Let’s be clear: The people whom Gov. Rauner is willing to harm with this attack are low-wage workers, most of them women and people of color who are hovering at or in poverty. Their rights and benefits have been supported over the years by legislators and governors of BOTH parties.

What’s more, these workers fought for years for health coverage, training and professional development and the right to have a union. Gov. Rauner’s proposals set workers back and put seniors, people with disabilities, parents who depend on affordable child care and other vulnerable populations further at risk.

Refusing to collect dues and interfering with the ability of workers to communicate with their union has nothing to do with the budget and everything to do with an extreme ideology that has been rejected on a bipartisan basis.

Bruce Rauner has not brought a reasonable deal to the table and has declared war on care providers, many of them who struggle to make ends meet, and on the communities they serve.

While his ultra-wealthy donors enjoy his special protection, Bruce Rauner instead is willing to hurt the working families of Illinois and the most vulnerable among us.

I asked the governor’s office for a response a few hours ago and haven’t heard back. I’ll let you know if they say anything.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

120 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    Welcome to your new world of negotiations, where your leverage of campaign contributions no longer exists.


  2. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 1:57 pm:

    If I have to hear about how elections have consequences, I am gonna scream….

    Is anyone really really really surprised by this?


  3. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 1:58 pm:

    So they campaign against the guy (understandably so) and are surprised he wants to jerk them over?

    Also, how often does a union seem happy with an initial offer from a government entity they are bargaining with.


  4. - How Ironic - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    Hi Rich!

    Bruce can’t wait to lock the doors come June 30th!

    Best,
    ck!


  5. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 1:59 pm:

    ===Also, how often does a union seem happy with an initial offer===

    That’s not your usual “initial offer.” And the June 23rd return date makes it look more like a “take it or leave it” offer.


  6. - Big Joe - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    Does this act surprise ANYONE out there? He is who he is, an uncaring rich guy that doesn’t give a hoot who he hurts. I hope all the people that voted him in office are paying attention to all this.


  7. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    So, how are these negotiations and contracts not political activity again?


  8. - How Ironic - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:01 pm:

    @OneMan,

    This isn’t so much an ‘offer’ to bargain with, as much as it is a request to de-certify themselves.

    Rauner could have just saved everyone some time had he said “There will be no negotiations. I’m simply waiting until June 30th, and then will lock the doors until either the State implodes or worse”.


  9. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    Rauner said repeatedly during the campaign that Illinois governors had a lot of power.

    One of his examples was the power to negotiate employee contracts.


  10. - JB13 - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:02 pm:

    So now the governor isn’t even allowed to negotiate harshly with unions? The state faces a huge budget hole, in large part because the IL Supreme Court said state workers, most of whom belong to those same unions, are entitled to 75 percent of their salaries for the rest of their lives. (Yes, yes, I know: It’s meager. And they don’t get Social Security. And, and, and… It’s still billions upon billions of dollars we don’t have.) Well, if public worker pensions can’t be diminished, current workers’ salaries can. And especially if they are independent contractors - which the childcare and home care workers, in fact, ARE.

    Reality is harsh. If we all are expected to cough up more in taxes, then you all need to share in the sacrifice, too.

    Will this cost Rauner reelection? It just might. But does it seem like he cares right now?


  11. - Confused - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:03 pm:

    Ahh, yes, the “women and people of color” card. Good to see everyone is trying to get along.


  12. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:03 pm:

    @Anonymous 2:02
    That is exactly why his staff is paid so much more than the previous administration, right?


  13. - Cassiopeia - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:04 pm:

    Yes this is harsh and AFSCME better have a workable game plan for July 1st when their contract has expired, and expecting state employees not to report for work will be the end of the union.


  14. - Anonymous - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:04 pm:

    “Rauner could have just saved everyone some time had he said “There will be no negotiations. I’m simply waiting until June 30th, and then will lock the doors until either the State implodes or worse”.”

    If there is a lock-out, all of the employees will go on unemployment. Then there is a lawsuit for bargaining in bad faith and it goes to an arbitrator.


  15. - Arsenal - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:06 pm:

    ==So now the governor isn’t even allowed to negotiate harshly with unions?==

    Of course he is. And people are allowed to criticize him for it.


  16. - Honeybear - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:06 pm:

    Why are people so hateful to low-income folks? Why would you say something so ugly for a cheap political point. These are human beings that do a really hard job and get paid very little. They have only one thing protecting them and advocating/fighting on their behalf, SEIU. Your comment reflects poorly on decent, reasonable, conservatives whose voice and opinion is valid and valuable.


  17. - How Ironic - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    @Cassiopeia:
    “Yes this is harsh and AFSCME better have a workable game plan for July 1st when their contract has expired, and expecting state employees not to report for work will be the end of the union.”

    I don’t think the Union will walk out, but I don’t think it’s unfathomable that Rauner will try to force a confrontation by locking them out.

    I think if he’s apt to do that, the consequences will be much worse for him.


  18. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:07 pm:

    Rauner won.

    He’s reminding the Union; I won. Take it or leave it.

    They just haveta try to wait until Rauner makes his mistake. Rauner makes mistakes.


  19. - archimedes - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    I guess it depends on what your goals are. What I learned is that the goal of negotiation is to come to agreement. Rauner goal is to pay the SEIU workers market wages and benefits (he has said that many times) - now would be a good time to prove that. Would be interesting to know or see the comps that are being used as a basis foe this offer.


  20. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    Sounds like one party is not bargaining in good faith.


  21. - AC - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:08 pm:

    It’s not the first time Rauner bargained with SEIU either. The difference this time is that there’s no common ground to be found.


  22. - How Ironic - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:09 pm:

    @Anon 2:04
    “If there is a lock-out, all of the employees will go on unemployment. Then there is a lawsuit for bargaining in bad faith and it goes to an arbitrator.”

    And Rauner would have a problem with that why? He’s already proven his proclivity to engage in lawsuits.


  23. - Honeybear - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    Sorry, my comment was directed at “anonymous 1:51


  24. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:10 pm:

    ==- OneMan - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 1:58 pm:==

    Answer me this, is it the governor’s job to bargain in good faith or punish political opponents out of pure spite and hatred for the working class?


  25. - The Colossus of Roads - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:11 pm:

    Looks like there may be an impasse brewing. State workers better start saving some money. Let the games begin.


  26. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:12 pm:

    ===try to force a confrontation by locking them out.===

    Locking out child care and home care workers ain’t gonna be easy. It’ll be a heckuva press pop when Grandma is home alone in her wheelchair and Rauner is looking for scabs.

    Just sayin…


  27. - Honeybear - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    JB13 High income people aren’t sacrificing anything! Shared sacrifice my tookas!


  28. - Archiesmom - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    When Rauner looks in the mirror, does he see Ronald Reagan peer back at him?


  29. - How Ironic - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:13 pm:

    @ Rich Miller
    “It’ll be a heckuva press pop when Grandma is home alone in her wheelchair and Rauner is looking for scabs.”

    Meh. Rauner doesn’t read the paper, or watch the news. So that probably isn’t a big concern of his.

    /snark


  30. - Chicago 20 - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    Absolutely brutal.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    ===When Rauner looks in the mirror, does he see Ronald Reagan peer back at him?===

    Ronald Reagan was endorsed by the Teamsters.

    Bruce Rauner, on labor, isn’t Ronald Reagan.

    At all.


  32. - Team Sleep - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:14 pm:

    Ducky - considering the fact that Republicans have been told that twice after both of President Obama’s electoral victories, the same standard should apply here as well.


  33. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    ==- Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:14 pm:==

    According to the governor himself he is Ronald Reagan and George Washington.


  34. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:17 pm:

    Just because someone says something, it doesn’t make it so.

    Rauner isn’t Reagan on labor issues. Not even close.


  35. - Beef - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:18 pm:

    Wouldn’t most of the providers be eligible for subsidized coverage due to ACA/obamacare?


  36. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:19 pm:

    Rauner needs to focus on AFSCME, every other union he is going after is a losing battle. AFSCME have isolated themselves the last several years and don’t have many friends. The Tribune would be happy to write a couple dozen editorials on his behalf during their contact talks as well. Just look at the editorial two weeks ago.


  37. - CharlieKratos - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    I honestly don’t understand this sort of stance… what do you do when you harm the middle class? You drive the middle class into poverty, where they then have to rely on social programs to support themselves. On the other hand, when you increase the standard of living for the middle class, they invest and spend money on luxuries which then goes into improving the economy. What, exactly, do the Ruanerites think they’re going to gain from hurting the middle class?!? Where is the logic?


  38. - olddog - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    === Ahh, yes, the “women and people of color” card. ===

    Ah yes, playing the “playing the ____ card” card is always so constructive. Exactly what do you want us to call it when you want put the hurt on women and people of color?


  39. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    How Ironic

    Yeah because I am sure SEIU is giving a completely neutral and not at all slanted viewpoint on the offer.


  40. - Ghost - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    Good thing those home healthcare workers sued for the right to not have to pay fair share.

    After all, the union is not doing anything for them so why should they have to pay. of course they get to ride along now with the workers who are paying… unless the union can get a bill passed that says their agreement only covers members.

    That would be a fair compromise, employees will no longer be required to pay fair share; but if they opt out they are not covered by the terms of any contract the union negotiates for its members.


  41. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:22 pm:

    Nobody should be surprised that the Governor is coming out of the gate with contract proposals such as these. He’s opening with a nuclear bomb.


  42. - Honeybear - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:24 pm:

    Almost the Weekend, but as far as political contributions SEIU put up the most cash. AFSCME didn’t come close to SEIU’s level of funding.


  43. - chi - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:25 pm:

    Would be nice if the veto-proof legislature granted themselves the ability to negotiate and approve the contracts. I can’t see a constitutional issue with a move like that (though I might be wrong).


  44. - nixit71 - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:30 pm:

    Perhaps SEIU Healthcare IL/IN will have to layoff one or two of the SEVENTEEN Vice Presidents in their organization.

    And to demonstrate the high qualifications required to be a VP at SEIU Healthcare, here is the title of one of the VP’s, taken verbatim from their profile on Linkedin:

    unnion politcal person at SEIU Healthcare


  45. - Anonin' - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:31 pm:

    Afternoon presentations from BVR
    B Wheeler $4K
    B Brady $8K
    Mutt Murphy $8k
    looks like the boy toys did better than the gal pal


  46. - Anonymiss - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:32 pm:

    >>I asked the governor’s office for a response a few hours ago and haven’t heard back.

    “Rich,

    corrupt union bosses conflict of interest status quo special interests

    best,

    ck”


  47. - Pam Harris - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:34 pm:

    This SEIU contract involves the men and women who provide in-home support for adults with disabilities - the Home Services program. Originally intended to provide the supports needed to keep the individual out of a nursing home, the program workers were unionized in a quick quid pro quo deal w/ Blago and the SEIU.

    Shortly after the deal was made, the program became unsustainable. Eligibility was “redefined” and many adults lost their supports and services. Even after the redefinition, the program’s bloat continues to expand and the State - being in the dire financial straits it is - cannot no longer afford the program.

    So where are our public dollars going to go? Seems many think the SEIU should continue to prosper and that the state administration should continue to collect money for the union. In the meantime, the adults who receive the supports and services suffer. Hours of support is continually cut, services are redefined by union reps who have no idea of levels of care.

    Above all there is one very important issue here: these unionized workers DO NOT WORK FOR THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. They are not state employees. They work for the person with the disability. The union has swept into our homes and disrupted levels of care - attempts to contractually describe how to provide personal care for another human being have been successful. The program has become an abomination. Training - cut it and nothing changes. Quality of care is dependent on the individual needs of the person and the tender heart of the caregiver.

    There is so much more beneath the surface of this union rhetoric. And at the heart of the issue is a mom, dad, sister, brother who is vulnerable and in need of support in the privacy of their own home, their own bathroom, their own bedroom.


  48. - OneMan - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:35 pm:

    == ===Also, how often does a union seem happy with an initial offer===

    That’s not your usual “initial offer.” And the June 23rd return date makes it look more like a “take it or leave it” offer. ==

    You have the advantage of knowing who set the 23rd date, so I don’t know if it was the state or the union who set the next date.


  49. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:36 pm:

    Ah yes….the good ole line from Conservatives “play the _______ card.” Created by original White Victim Jon Cass.

    Whites have had it so terrible in this country. Remember when Whites couldn’t vote?

    And now we have religious charlatan Myke Huckalbee who is a “xtian” victim. HOW have the “xtians” survived here for 200+ years!

    Lastly there is Rich Victim guv’nor Bruce! It’s like he has been financially assaulted his whole life. He doesn’t eat 5 dollar pizza!


  50. - Juvenal - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:38 pm:

    If Rauner is trying to punish SEIU or balance the budget, this is a strange way to go about it.

    The alternative to home care in most cases is a nursing home, which would be funded through Medicaid and cost taxpayers much, much more.

    A good chunk of nursing home caregivers are SEIU members.

    Again, odd strategy.


  51. - Norseman - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:39 pm:

    === So they campaign against the guy (understandably so) and are surprised he wants to jerk them over? ===

    Should read that he said unions were corrupt and terrible so they campaigned against him. The real question is who didn’t expect him to try and jerk unions around when he won?


  52. - chi - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:40 pm:

    =There is so much more beneath the surface of this union rhetoric.=

    Well enlighten us then. We’ve got time, it’s not like a budget is going to pass anytime soon. Tell us how better training, health care, and better pay for home health care workers hurts the patient.


  53. - chi - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:43 pm:

    =Quality of care is dependent on the individual needs of the person and the tender heart of the caregiver.=

    Is Bruce offering merit pay increases based on tenderness of heart?


  54. - chi - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:45 pm:

    =Above all there is one very important issue here: these unionized workers DO NOT WORK FOR THE STATE OF ILLINOIS. They are not state employees.=

    Why is that important in this context, where we are discussing what the benefits should be, and the state pays the benefits? The Supreme Court case was decided. This is about the level these people should be compensated at. Rauner thinks they should go without health care. SEIU does not.


  55. - chi - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:46 pm:

    =And at the heart of the issue is a mom, dad, sister, brother who is vulnerable and in need of support in the privacy of their own home, their own bathroom, their own bedroom.=

    But for gosh sakes don’t give health care or training to the person providing the support.


  56. - Ghost - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:47 pm:

    Pam Harris, lots of conclusions, without any facts or support.

    I do recall there was a hug problem with the quality of workers before the positions unionized. MANY disabled individuals were finding it hard to get good people to work for minimum age and no benefits outside of family members who were already providing the care, and just wanted paid to do it.

    Can you give me the names of some disabled people who are demanding they draw workers only from the pool of people able to work for poverty wages and no benefits?


  57. - Aldyth - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:48 pm:

    What was it that happened to those elderly and infirm ladies in the nursing homes that Rauner gutted?

    I’m seeing a pattern here of utter disregard for the well-being of those who need help the most.


  58. - D.P.Gumby - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:51 pm:

    –Given what Brucie did the residents of the nursing homes he owned, what makes anyone think he cares what will happen to Granny w/ no home care workers.
    –This is why he threw in the phrase “negotiate in good faith” b/c such an opening position borders on unfair labor practice.


  59. - Super Dawg - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:52 pm:

    Chi - “Rauner thinks they should go without health care. SEIU does not.”

    As “Beef” points out about above, the ACA might cover these workers. Maybe Rauner wants a new, less costly system rather than to deny these workers healthcare?


  60. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:54 pm:

    Right now, I want to thank Bruce Rauner. Seriously. Thank you, Bruce, for reminding us how much better the elderly are cared for, and how much better off their caretakers are, being part of the state system and not one of your nursing homes. Thanks again.


  61. - chi - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:56 pm:

    =Maybe Rauner wants a new, less costly system rather than to deny these workers healthcare?=

    If he were offering to increase wage compensation in exchange for a proportional decrease in the payments to the SEIU health care fund, I would say that’s reasonable.

    And the ACA does present many challenges, especially for a population like this… pay them too much, and their ACA subsidies decrease, so the marginal value of a dollar on the check decreases.

    But I’ll buy you an $18 watch if ck tells us that this is what Rauner is proposing. He’s just slashing.


  62. - Tournaround Agenda - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:58 pm:

    This reeks of bad faith bargaining. Rauner wants a strike. I’m interested to see how the press shop is going to spin it.


  63. - Pam Harris - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:00 pm:

    The funding for this program comes from State and Federal dollars - tax payer dollars intended to provide for the care of our most vulnerable citizens.

    The state should not be tasked with collecting union dues.

    The workers can get subsidized healthcare from the ACA. No one is saying anyone should go without healthcare.

    These workers are independent contractors.

    As such, their wages, hours worked and services performed as well as evaluations and terminations should all be determined by the person who receiving the services.

    And as far as the dig on the tender hearts - I get it. It’s difficult for others to understand the challenges people with disabilities (and their families) encounter when navigating state and federal human services programs.

    Demonstrating self-determination and preserving dignity while having to be fed and toileted is hard for most to comprehend.

    Opening your home to strangers who are required to check on your personal habits is not something many are required to do in order to receive needed help.

    You may say, well then do it on your own. That’s an option. But while I still can, every time I see a public discussion like this one, that is void of any perspective from the people directly involved, I will add our perspective.


  64. - Joe Blow - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:02 pm:

    This is all about drying up the campaign money to democrats he has cosistently railed against the “special interests “. SEIU has been one of the biggest contributors to Dems. This is only the beginning. The trial bar will be next on his hit list.


  65. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:04 pm:

    ===This is all about drying up the campaign money to democrats===

    He’s a true believer, man. It isn’t just a partisan thing for him.


  66. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:04 pm:

    I understand his ideology, but shame on him. This isn’t bargaining. It’s just cruel. These are people doing essential but God-awful jobs. Cleaning up after people who go to the bathroom in their pants, wiping their behinds, cleaning up their vomit, bathing people who can’t care for themselves.

    Maybe the Dems should pass a law requiring the governor to spend a day with one of these people. Then perhaps he wouldn’t come back attacking these necessary and remarkably vulnerable people.


  67. - Carhartt Representative - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:05 pm:

    I have seen what a difference quality health care makes with my dad and especially my step-father. It saddens me to think that Rauner is coming after these people. They will drive down the quality of healthcare workers with strong armed negotiations like this.


  68. - The Muse - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:06 pm:

    Is it possible to become a lame duck when you’re less than 6 months into your first term?


  69. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    Just curious Pam….who’s perspective are you representing?


  70. - southwest - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    Does anyone know what is going on with AFSCME contract negotiations? I know the process is going on, but I never see press reports.


  71. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:09 pm:

    Jack, she’s the Harris in Harris v Quinn.


  72. - Tone - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:12 pm:

    “As “Beef” points out about above, the ACA might cover these workers. Maybe Rauner wants a new, less costly system rather than to deny these workers healthcare?”

    Terrible, right?


  73. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:17 pm:

    Thanx Rich.


  74. - zonz - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:17 pm:

    “he seemed like such a nice man” - former middle class voter


  75. - jazzy - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:17 pm:

    @Pam
    since you are speaking for them
    as independent contractor’s just what kind of money are they making? Are you receiving aca healthcare?


  76. - Joe Blow - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:18 pm:

    I don’t know what he truly believes in but he certainly appears to be a true union hater.


  77. - The Unknown Poster - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:24 pm:

    It’s been said that if there is a lock-out then state employees would be able to collect unemployment. That may be true but if there is a lock-out wouldn’t the Department of Employment Security be affected too? Who will issue the checks when that agency is locked out too?


  78. - Mythoughtis - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:26 pm:

    Why does the governor care about taking their health insurance away if it is union funded in the first place? Why does he get a say in it?


  79. - jazzy - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:26 pm:

    @jb13 2:02
    Tier 1 can collect 75% after 45 years of service. Why don’t you request a FOIA for how many tier 1 state of il people collecting 45%. I love when people take the extreme and run with it. The reality is the whole state benefited from the pension holidays while state employees kept paying each and every check. Point your words at the people who did not pay.


  80. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:31 pm:

    @precint:

    Agreed. What a joke that her 1st Amendment rights were being violated.

    Hope she understands that her wireless carrier/big box store/pharmaceutical company supports ALEC and they will not stop until women are barefoot..pregnant…and in the kitchen.


  81. - Aldyth - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:33 pm:

    Pam Harris, there are a number of us who read and comment here who work in the field, have family members with disabilities, or senior family members who are receiving services that keep them out of nursing homes.

    We do know whereof we speak.


  82. - bored now - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:45 pm:

    this is illinois, where kansas meets wisconsin!


  83. - walker - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:46 pm:

    Anybody surprised?


  84. - zonz - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:55 pm:

    The ubiquitous union trashing …

    google Harris v Quinn
    & at the very top you’ll see this Advert:

    Leave SEIU - careforillinois.com‎
    www.careforillinois.com/‎ (312) 702-7842
    Learn how you can stop SEIU from collecting dues from your check.


  85. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:57 pm:

    ==- Oswego Willy - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 2:17 pm:==

    It’s just helpful to know how big the delusions of grandeur we are dealing really are.


  86. - Arizona Bob - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 3:58 pm:

    Funny thing. The press reported what Rauner’s initial offer was, what was the SEIU’s initial offer regarding the contract? anyone willing to bet that the offer demanded more than CPI in benefit and salary increases?

    BTW, does anyone know what percentage of the typical home care salary goes to union dues? Has anyone EVER seen a union drop their dues to help out the “working person”? Not in my lifetime in Illinois it hasn’t…


  87. - Skeptic - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 4:07 pm:

    “Opening your home to strangers who are required to check on your personal habits is not something many are required to do in order to receive needed help.” You (understandably) feel that’s an invasion of privacy. Others would call that “transparency” to make sure there isn’t “waste, fraud and abuse.” Or abuse on the tax-payer’s dime.


  88. - Say It Ain't So!! - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 4:11 pm:

    Is it a coincidence that this comes out the same day that Crains runs a story that Illinois is facing a nursing shortage? Who is going to take care of aging baby boomers if home care workers are sut out and there is a shortage of nurses?


  89. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    == The state faces a huge budget hole, in large part because the IL Supreme Court said state workers, most of whom belong to those same unions, are entitled to 75 percent of their salaries for the rest of their lives. ==

    -jb13-

    First, the State already owed the money to the pension funds. All the IL SC did was prevent the State from negating the existing pension contract. The budget hole exists because taxes were not raised to put the funds in over the past 15 to 40 years, depending on who you want to blame.

    Second, most State employees don’t end up with 75%, which requires working 45 years under the normal 1.67% SERS formula. Spend some time reading and analyzing the Statistical Section of the various Fiscal Year Pension Fund reports. Most SERS members retire with less than 30 years of service. Go look it up.


  90. - RNUG - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 4:25 pm:

    Finally, -jb13- , remember that you only have to have a minimum of 10 years of ’service’ to collect Social Security, which is another defined benefit pension plan.


  91. - Demoralized - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 4:41 pm:

    Bob:

    Gripe about unions all you want. We know you hate them and agree with the Governor that they are the reason for all of the woes in the world. But, nobody forces anybody to join a union. If you don’t like unions don’t take a freaking union job or quit your union job and find another one. I’m tired of the constant whining about unions. If you don’t like them don’t associate with them. It’s really that easy.


  92. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:01 pm:

    Its always amazing to me how Pam Harris continues to know so little about the programs that she talked about and sued about.

    First, lets start with this… Pam Harris never was impacted by union dues, because the program that she works in was never unionized. She works in the Home Based Support Services program, and the home care workers that SEIU Healthcare represent and are discussed in the post work in the Home Services Program. Harris continues to imply that she is impacted by SEIU and union dues, and she is not.

    Second, there was no quid pro quo. Blago gave an executive order granting collective bargaining rights, but Harris always leaves out two key things:
    1 - the general assembly codified that executive order, almost unanimously.
    2 - the workers VOTED to join the union.

    Third, Harris talks about the unsustainable program after the union came in. This is blatantly false, and she tellingly has never supported this assertion with any data. Pam - where is your data on caseload growth/reductions? Or hours reductions?

    Fourth, Harris claims that they are not state employees. This is false. State law is clear that they are state employees for certain aspects of their employment. They are co-employees - employed by both the State and the Consumer.

    Fifth, Harris claims that the union has contractually “describe[d] how to provide personal care for another human being.” Huh? What are you referring to? This is nothing in the CBA stating anything of the sort.

    Sixth, Harris states “no one is saying anyone should go without healthcare.” Actually, this is false. Rauner and his negotiators are saying exactly that. And Rauner and his negotiators are sure not offering additional funds to cover the increased cost of paying for the health insurance out of their own pocket.

    Harris continues to distort reality to fit her personal and political narrative. But her so-called facts are blatantly false. Harris is anti-union. We get it. She’s entitled to her own opinions and feeling on unions. And she is and was entitled to express them however she wants, including her vote against unionization in the HBSS program. But she isn’t entitled to her own facts.


  93. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:09 pm:

    **Has anyone EVER seen a union drop their dues to help out the “working person”?**

    Pretty sure that the raises that SEIU has won for their low-wage home care and nursing home workers well outpaces the % the workers pay in union dues.


  94. - mythoughtis - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:15 pm:

    I would prefer that my home health care worker (when I get old enough to need one) be decently paid, with good benefits, well trained, and supervised and checked on. A recent AARP article discussed the fact that, without this, seniors can be ill-treated by the person that is supposed to take care of them, even if it is a family member. Seems to me that honest and ethical health care workers would see the value in that.

    Back to the contract, if this is how Rauner wants to treat people who take care of our elderly(and he will be one before me), then I hate to see what is coming for us ‘overpaid’ useless state employees who actually work in state offices, and so forth.


  95. - Anon - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:16 pm:

    I think that “elections have consequences” does not apply. The Rainer who won was not the Rauner people saw in the general election. The Rauner who one - the Rauner we have, was the primary Rauner - the anti-union, anti-worker, profit at any cost private capitalist. He wants to lord over all those beneath him. It is who he is. It is his way. And his way is a way without compassion.


  96. - Anon - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:21 pm:

    Autocorrect spellcheck meltdown.


  97. - Sue - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:25 pm:

    Want this the Union and bargaining y it Blago helped out by executive order in appreciation for that HUGE campaign contribution SEIU made during the 2002 campaign. Too bad Blagojevich isn’t still governor


  98. - cdog - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:30 pm:

    I think the Pope is doing a good job of simplifying the ills created by a mindset like the uber-capitalist we have in Mr. Rauner.

    From PF’s 2013 Apostolic Exhortation —
    “9. Exploiting humans as mere economic commodities…” Francis: ‘Yes, humans are now consumer goods, used then discarded in our widespread throwaway culture. It is no longer about oppression and exploitation. Today, the excluded ones are no longer society’s underside, no longer even a part of it, but outcasts, leftovers.’


  99. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 5:36 pm:

    **Want this the Union and bargaining y it Blago helped out by executive order in appreciation for that HUGE campaign contribution SEIU made during the 2002 campaign.**

    Was the entire general assembly also bought off? Come on. Once again, Blago issued an EO, but then the GA codified it almost unanimously, making it law. The EO is completely irrelevant at this point.


  100. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 6:00 pm:

    BTW - here is the legislation that codified that EO, making the EO irrelevant.

    51-2 in the Senate. Lots of current Senators were there. Were they all in the Blago/SEIU quid pro quo? Senator Bill Brady? Althoff? Righter? Roskam?

    115-0 in the House. Where all those GOP reps in on it too?


  101. - AlabamaShake - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 6:02 pm:

    And forgot the link. Here you go:

    http://ilga.gov/legislation/BillStatus.asp?DocNum=2221&GAID=3&DocTypeID=HB&LegId=3309&SessionID=3&GA=93


  102. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 6:04 pm:

    Rauner is just an ideologue. He really believes he is doing the right thing. A lot of Republicans, though not all, believe the same thing. One thing I’ve observed in my working career is that if either the Union or the Employer has too much power, you have a problem. It’s in everyone’s best interest to have some sort of balance. Gains that the middle class has made from past generations will be rolled back if collective bargaining ceases to exist. That is Rauner’s objective here.


  103. - The Way I See It - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 6:09 pm:

    Question - if these folks lose health care through the state, don’t they still have to get it on their own thru Obamacare/the exchanges? Won’t most of the cost be subsidized by the taxpayers?

    Past that, if Rauner locks out state employees, I see that as being the death of the Republican party in Illinois. There isn’t the appetite here for class warfare against low earners that you see elsewhere. If the war against unions is going to be fought, it will be done almost entirely by the governor with the R legislators being given every opportunity to show their own lack of courage to stand against that and just how cheap they can be bought.


  104. - Just Me - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 6:22 pm:

    why is it every time there is a government union contract negotiation, every union is always the first to go public with the other side’s offer?

    How about the union publicly show what their offer is and how much taxpayer money that is going to cost?


  105. - Sue - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 6:41 pm:

    This is a collective bargaining unit which stretched the understanding of an employee from the get go.. Are family members going to stop assisting their relatives if an agreement is not reached. The whole concept needs to be undone. The biggest and perhaps only loser would be SEIU


  106. - Pam Harris - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 7:22 pm:

    On March 4, 2003, Blago issued the executive order making home health care workers state employees solely for collective bargaining -clearly stating they are not state employees for the purpose of receiving pensions or other state-mandated benefits.

    One week later, SEIU Local 880 presented a claim to Illinois that it had a majority of the workers’ support.

    Five days after that, on March 17, the state certified the union — SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana — as the workers’ “exclusive representative.”

    It was a “card check” election -not a secret ballot vote. SEIU reported it had the support of 52 percent of the 20,000 home health care workers.

    Big bucks started flowing to the SEIU - about 10 million a year.

    Oh, and those “cards”, or any evidence of the majority of workers agreeing that the SEIU represent them - gone! Not even No evidence exists to show the state verified the count.

    In my opinion, this is a scheme that takes public dollars (intended to pay for supports for the disabled) and hands it off to the public sector unions who in turn tuck it into the politicians coffers.


  107. - A Jack - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 7:22 pm:

    Apparently the persons in the union who decided that they needed to be unionized had a reason for wanting that protection.

    And the PA that AlabamaShake mentions clearing makes them public employees if they are taking money from the Home Services Program.

    Until the GA modifies that statute or the program goes away, the union is allowed to bargain for its members. And if some persons, like Pam Harris doesn’t like that deal, they are certainly free to drop from that program or send the money back. Certainly the state could use the money if she wants to send it back.


  108. - Wordslinger - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 7:39 pm:

    See you in church, governor.

    Pam, what’s your endgame? What does the better day look like that you’re hoping to achieve with your life’s work?


  109. - Sue - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 8:09 pm:

    As much as the Democratic Party objects to business contributions buying Republican office holders- where is the outrage when a union makes similar size contributions to democratic candidates which in turn result in what Blagojevich arguablydid for SEIU producing tens of millions in new dues income? shame on everyone who was responsible for this deal


  110. - Jorge - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 8:14 pm:

    Bama, facts don’t apply to those who live in a world of dogmatic lunacy. It’s a shame.


  111. - Hold on to Your Hats! - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 9:21 pm:

    And here I was thinking I was going to have a leisurely summer catching up on reading, etc. Silly me.
    This has to be shaping up to be one of the most exciting summers in Illinois state history. A likely legislative overtime session filled with vitriol and histrionics. The expiration of all of the state employee collective bargaining agreements and the craziness sure to follow from that. State finances going down the drain. A new fiscal year with no budget deal. State constitutional crises popping up each day. Wow!!
    I’d feel better about the unions’ chances of faring against Rauner if they were led by MJM rather than….who again?


  112. - unionist - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 9:59 pm:

    So, the union has its hand in the pot and uses that money to fight to increase the wages of the most vulnerable and essential health care providers. That is truth. But has anyone been able to figure out exactly how much the Rauner’s profit from the state? Their hands are in the pot too!!! And the question really is what is Rauner’s profit motive in this fight? I doubt this is all about Rauner’s anti-union views. This man is a ravenous beast when it comes to makin money. He is insatiable. When he sees $$$$, he doesn’t think about how to use it to raise the bar and improve quality of life for all. He is looking out for himself and his investment partners and how can they get the money.


  113. - unionist - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 10:15 pm:

    If the state “cant afford” these programs, then that means more people in nursing homes. Rauner loves nursing home profit schemes! Hates unions. That money should instead go toward nursing home profits.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-bruce-rauner-nursing-home-bankruptcy-20140922-story.html#page=2


  114. - Weekly Reader - Wednesday, May 20, 15 @ 10:47 pm:

    Way to go, Pam Harris!


  115. - Crispy Critter - Thursday, May 21, 15 @ 5:59 am:

    JB13: You stated most state workers get 75% of their pay when they retire. NOT TRUE!!! They have to work about 44 years to attain that. Most get 1/2 or less, plus those with no social security have been paying 8% or move over their entire career into the pensions. How about we take away your social security? Same difference. As for higher taxes, even if the state eliminated the pensions, you would still be paying the same rate of state tax. The state would not say “OH, we abolished the pensions, so we are lowering the tax rate for everyone.” No, you would go on paying the same rate so this argument of paying higher taxes because of the pensions doesn’t fly.


  116. - what the? - Thursday, May 21, 15 @ 8:42 am:

    So… SEIU discloses what the state has to offer. Has SEIU disclosed what they asked for? Bargaining usually has a lot of back and forth.

    If SEIU wants to bargain this agreement in the court of public opinion, should’nt they also disclose their first offer or request?


  117. - AlabamaShake - Thursday, May 21, 15 @ 10:39 am:

    Anyone else notice that Pam Harris posted another long rant, giving a timeline that (once again) misses some key things, yet doesn’t respond to anything that I said?

    Most of what Harris wrote in her post is true. Blago issued an EO, SEIU filed quickly with a majority of cards, the state certified the union. All of this was legal, nothing was underhanded.

    But I am going to respond to one thing:

    **this is a scheme that takes public dollars (intended to pay for supports for the disabled) and hands it off to the public sector unions who in turn tuck it into the politicians coffers.**

    This is entirely inaccurate. This “scheme” (otherwise known as standard collective bargaining) doesn’t put public dollars into the coffers of unions. This “scheme” provides a collective bargaining mechanism for a union to represent a group of workers. Those workers pay for that representation with the money that they earn. Union dues are NOT paid by the employer. Dues and fair share fees are paid by the employee, and sometimes the employer helps facilitate that payment.


  118. - AlabamaShake - Thursday, May 21, 15 @ 10:41 am:

    **where is the outrage when a union makes similar size contributions to democratic candidates which in turn result in what Blagojevich arguablydid for SEIU producing tens of millions in new dues income? **

    Sue - you do realize that Blago’s EO is totally irrelevant to this conversation, right? Once the General Assembly, almost unanimously, with dozens of republican votes, codified the EO, the EO became moot.

    This wasn’t a quid pro quo scheme. This was something that had huge bipartisan support as a policy and practice that the both parties wanted the State to implement.


  119. - Pam Harris - Friday, May 22, 15 @ 9:59 am:

    A man plans and starts a fire. The others decide to let it burn. Does this excuse, diminish or make ‘moot’ the planner/fire starter’s actions? Of course not.

    These funds are public dollars- Medicaid waiver money funded by both the State and the Federal government. Taxpayer money.

    Call me out all you want. I will continue to speak up for what I believe is right - and share my experiences with public sector unions, waiver programs for the disabled, and the scheme here in IL started by Blagojevich to siphon off public funds intended to support our most vulnerable citizens directly into the SEIU.


  120. - AlabamaShake - Friday, May 22, 15 @ 11:30 am:

    Pam - you still haven’t responded to the majority of what I’ve said. But I’ll respond to your talking points.

    **A man plans and starts a fire. The others decide to let it burn. Does this excuse, diminish or make ‘moot’ the planner/fire starter’s actions? Of course not.**

    Huh? The GA didn’t “let it burn.” That would have meant that they would have stayed silent. Instead they proactively acted to approve of the changes by putting it into law.

    **These funds are public dollars- Medicaid waiver money funded by both the State and the Federal government. Taxpayer money.**

    The funds that fund the programs are public dollars. This is true. But the dues are not public dollars. They are private dollars that are controlled by the employee. And SEIU has played a huge role at a) greatly increasing wages and benefits for these workers, and b) protecting the program against hours, eligibility, and service cuts. Personal Assistants in the Home Services Program (as well as the child care providers in the Child Care Assistance Program) have received much greater increases in pay/benefits than they have paid in dues.

    And I look forward to you to actually responding to the substance of the rest of my points.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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