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SEIU claims court victory on health insurance

Monday, Nov 30, 2015

* From a press release…

The St. Clair County Circuit Court has ruled in favor of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which was granted a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Leslie Munger. The ruling issued late Wednesday (attached) protects health insurance for nearly 5,000 low-wage home healthcare workers in Illinois. The home healthcare workers serve adults with disabilities in Illinois’ Home Services Program. (Case No. 15 CH 475.)

Despite a contract requiring the State of Illinois to contribute health insurance benefits for home healthcare workers, Gov. Rauner refused to pay the State’s contribution to the workers’ health fund. Rauner’s administration owes the health fund $1.5 million from fiscal year 2015, as well as approximately $11.8 million for work already performed for the months of July through October in fiscal year 2016. If Gov. Rauner failed to honor the State’s contractual obligations to continue health contributions, workers would have lost all of their health insurance after December 31st, 2015.

The state’s 52,000 home healthcare and child care workers-the largest bloc of workers in Illinois-continue to work without a contract.

In response to the temporary restraining order, Keith Kelleher, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, issued the following statement:

    “We applaud the St. Clair County Circuit Court ruling to protect our home healthcare workers from a potentially devastating economic and health crisis.

    “The Court’s ruling is yet another major rebuke to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s extreme agenda and another example of Rauner’s failure in leading and managing Illinois’ finances, contracts and basic state operations.

    “Lisa Viti, a home healthcare worker in Berwyn, suffers from diabetes and extremely high blood pressure and must take eight medications daily. She is among thousands of other home care workers whose health insurance was protected by the Court’s ruling. If Gov. Rauner had been successful in stripping away Ms. Viit’s health insurance that she currently gets from the health fund, her life-saving prescriptions would have cost more than $1,000 a month, forcing Ms. Viti to choose between her health or losing her own home. This is an example of Gov. Rauner’s agenda in a nutshell.

    “Let’s not forgot how we got here. Gov. Rauner chose to use low-wage home healthcare workers, and their health insurance and economic security, as ‘leverage’ for his extreme anti-worker and political agenda.

    “Gov. Rauner manufactured the State’s ongoing government shutdown for over five months now with no resolution in sight. But then Rauner claimed he had no budget authority to pay money into the health fund, putting workers, their families, and adults with disabilities in jeopardy and potentially devastating our vital workforce.

    “Rauner’s attempt to manipulate and gamble with peoples’ livelihoods and health security is utterly reprehensible. Rauner’s actions show how little he cares about the struggles of low-wage workers and families in Illinois and how willing he is to use them as pawns in his political game.”

The ruling is here.

I’ll let you know if there’s an administration response.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:14 pm:

    You can see why Rauner and Munger went to St. Clair County to make sure the superstars got paid without a budget.


  2. - Tasty Grouper - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    Word,

    Rauner and Munger didn’t do anything in the original suit. Munger was the defendant and Rauner wasn’t even a party. The unions brought the original suit to get people paid.


  3. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:20 pm:

    That’s cute you went to the trouble to get a legal ruling, but we are going to follow the guidance of IPI on this one.

    Thanks,
    CK


  4. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    I’m guessing the Administration will look at this ruling as another obstacle, not a warning that’s du is drying up quicker than they can fix the holes, and that the Administration’s own choice to hold hostage the state is running out of time to “break Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls…”

    An Adminstration bent on governing wouldn’t have these governing issues.

    Rauner wants an end to a Prevailing Wage, Collective Bargaining, and a way to hang a needed, required, tax increase that Rauner himself will sign… possibly the largest in Illinois’ history… on all non-Raunerite legislators and especially on Mike Madigan.

    This ruling is a speed bump to them. It’s part of the strategy, not the governing.


  5. - cdog - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:29 pm:

    I don’t remember that chapter in Public Administration coursework about governing by court order and disregard/disrespect of contracts and contract law.

    There are few things, and maybe nothing, more un-American.


  6. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:34 pm:

    ===I don’t remember that chapter in Public Administration coursework about governing by court order===

    Don’t blame us for your shoddy education.

    lol


  7. - Anon221 - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:37 pm:

    “chaotic bust” and “fiddle while burning posture”- methinks the judge is fed-up with the shenanigans of the other two branches. On page three of the ruling, the first full paragraph is excellent. Goes right to the true heart of the matter- the effect on the caregivers!


  8. - Demoralized - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:40 pm:

    ==There are few things, and maybe nothing, more un-American.==

    I don’t know. Some guy longing for the days of Mussolini seems pretty un-American.


  9. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:44 pm:

    Wooooo Hooooooo! Thank you St. Clair County once again!


  10. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:53 pm:

    @cdog
    It’s part of a pre-trial motion before an injunction is issued. In a nutshell the judge is stating Rauner and the legislature are in a gridlock beyond what is day to day operations, and basically by doing so, it’s causing severe harm to the public.

    http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs2.asp?ChapterID=56


  11. - Trydge - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:57 pm:

    SEIU just skipped to the head of the line!


  12. - Henry Francis - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 1:57 pm:

    Who cares what the law says. Who cares what the contract requires. This administration will do whatever it pleases and put the burden on others to march into court and obtain a court order forcing it to do what it should have done in the first place. I guess they are running government like a (big) business.


  13. - Cook County commoner - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 2:09 pm:

    “Irreparable damage” is a key requirement for issuance of a TRO, and the court’s view of government withholding agreed healthcare benefits as irreparable damage is significant. A different result may have occurred if the disputed payment involved all or part of a pension annuity.

    Some commentators view healthcare benefits owed to gov employees and retirees as a more immediate fiscal time bomb than pension annuities. With healthcare costs escalating beyond control, union use of TROs to force prompt payment of benefits could prove to be a very powerful tool to accelerate bringing Illinois and its local governments with similar promises to a serious fiscal reckoning.


  14. - Anon. - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 2:45 pm:

    ==“Irreparable damage” is a key requirement for issuance of a TRO, and the court’s view of government withholding agreed healthcare benefits as irreparable damage is significant. A different result may have occurred if the disputed payment involved all or part of a pension annuity. ==

    I doubt it. More people can survive a month or three without health insurance than can survive without their retirement check. You might not get sick, but you definitely need to eat.


  15. - Jon Spicer - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 3:04 pm:

    Thank Congressional Candidate C.J. Baricevic for suing Bruce Rauner. Taking a stand against the rich and powerful for the working class. Could not be happier that you are my candidate.


  16. - burbanite - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 4:58 pm:

    Perhaps you enjoy good health Anon. 2:45, however, for some, 2-3 months without insurance can be fatal, literally.


  17. - Juice - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 5:56 pm:

    Tasty Grouper, Munger chose to have her own attorney represent her office, got the AG dismissed from the case and then she waived sovereign immunity on behalf of the entire state of Illinois. Yep, she had nothing whatsoever to releasing that group of hostages so that the Governor can continue with this insanity.

    All the while, the frat boys took to Twitter to publicly criticize the AG’s office for having the audacity to say that we probably should not be spending money of appropriations have not been enacted.


  18. - internal angel - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 7:01 pm:

    Expected. By now everybody knows the only way to get paid is by court ruling. Im surprised state vendors havent sued for irrepairable harm to get their money. Ive had bankers tell me that some bldg owners have been in to tey to get loans on rent owed. The bankers won’t loan money on state receivables, many have that rule as bank policy. It was a joke that the admin thought anybody could get a loan based on money the state owed them. They didnt bother to check that out before launching this foolish plan for not actually operating the state government. Crazy. Lost in their own little world. Doesnt make any logical sense to me, therefore i conclude that decision wasnt based on logic. So what method do they use to make decisions i wonder?


  19. - RNUG - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 7:05 pm:

    == “chaotic bust” and “fiddle while burning posture”- methinks the judge is fed-up with the shenanigans of the other two branches. ==

    - Anon221 - , that was my take also. The Judge also make it crystal clear he believes the State has a losing case if the State were to appeal his ruling.


  20. - Arthur Andersen - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 7:42 pm:

    IA, those are some naive property owners and some smart lenders. Nowhere is the “This contract is subject to appropriation of funds” clause more prominent than in a State property lease form.


  21. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 30, 15 @ 10:58 pm:

    @ Juice,
    ARTICLE XIII: GENERAL PROVISIONS of the 1970 state constitution says specifically ”

    SECTION 4. SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY ABOLISHED
    Except as the General Assembly may provide by law, sovereign immunity in this State is abolished.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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