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SEIU loses JCAR OT fight

Wednesday, Mar 15, 2017

* Illinois Public Radio’s Tom Lisi

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s new rules restricting overtime pay for home health aids passed a major test Tuesday. Starting August 1, caretakers will be limited to a 45-hour work-week. If people require more care, they’ll have to find an additional worker.

Some families affected by the rule showed up at a hearing to demonstrate their objections. K.L. Cleeton, 28, lives in Effingham with his parents. He says he made the choice with his parents that they would quit their day jobs and devote themselves to his full-time care.

“Because my disability is so severe, I require 24-hour assistance. If I have an itch, I can’t scratch it. So this is very much my choice,” Cleeton said.

When the new rules kick in, his parents will be limited to 45 hours of on-the-clock work in taking care of him. After that, they’ll have to find an outside worker to fill in the gaps — and figure out to how to replace the lost income.

* Finke

The overtime rule has become an issue between Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration and SEIU Healthcare Illinois, which represents the home care workers. The union issued a statement Tuesday saying that any savings the administration expects from the new rule would be wiped out if 182 people now receiving home care assistance are forced instead into nursing homes. The administration thinks placing limits on overtime will save $8 million.

“That’s not the main purpose of the rule,” Flather said. “The main thrust of this rule is customer security.”

Democrats twice tried to pass motions that would have prevented the rule from being put into effect. Both times the motion failed on tie votes of 6-6.

Flather said the agency will send communications to clients in the next week or two that will tell then what to expect.

* Press release…

In a vote along party lines, republican members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) voted to approve Governor Bruce Rauner’s DHS Overtime Policy. Over the last year, people with disabilities, their caregivers, and advocates have warned about the devastating affects this misguided policy would have on the lives of consumers and workers in the DHS Home Services Program (HSP). Despite the outcry from stakeholders, Bruce Rauner and DHS refused to meet with those impacted and instead stayed the course to implement their rules.

Following is statement on behalf of Access Living, the Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois in response to the JCAR vote:

“Today, thousands of people with disabilities and personal assistants in the DHS Home Services Program were abandoned by republican JCAR members. Hundreds of phone calls, emails, and personal letters were submitted to JCAR prior to their vote highlighting the problems with this policy. Instead of heeding the warnings, republican JCAR members voted to undermine the strength of the Home Services Program and the independence of people with disabilities.

“No one won today with this unfortunate vote – not people with disabilities, not personal assistants, and certainly not Illinois taxpayers. The minor cost-savings projected from this misguided policy will be completely negated if only 182 individuals with disabilities are forced into more costly nursing home care as a result, stripping them of their dignity and independence and leaving Illinois taxpayers to foot the bill.

“Our coalition vows to continue the fight against this terrible policy and our commitment to reaching a fair agreement that will protect the health and safety of people with disabilities remains.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 10:49 am:

    He really hates underprivileged people, doesn’t he… And the Repubs on that committee

  2. - downstate commissioner - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 10:50 am:

    ??? on that committee are afraid of their jobs…

  3. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    So, if no one in the program goes to a nursing home, the savings is, what, slightly less than half of what we burn through in a day due to the lack of a budget. Thank God we’re finally running Illinois like a business!

  4. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 10:53 am:

    Above Anonymous was me…sorry.

  5. - Texas Red - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:21 am:

    SEIU is now 0 for 2; with losses at JCAR and SCOTUS (Harris V. Quinn)

  6. - The Real Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:26 am:

    Anybody know what a home health care worker makes per hour?

  7. - Nick Name - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    The other big issue here is that Rauner appears to have subverted JCAR to achieve his policy goals, something Blago tried but never managed to achieve. After both 6-6 votes, Rep. Lang and Sen. Harmon both rebuked/warned committee members that JCAR’s purpose is to look out for the interests of the legislature and oversee the rulemaking process, hence its bipartisan, bicameral structure — while all six Republicans looked down at their feet. Pretty shameful.

  8. - Anon221 - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 11:37 am:

    Wage Stats (2015)-

  9. - VanillaMan - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:21 pm:

    Rauner and his supporters don’t care if you are a citizen - they only care about you if you are a taxpayer that is giving more than taking.

    Their government business model requires focusing on us as taxpaying customers, not as citizens. There is no room in their immoral government model for citizens in need. If they believe taxpayers can save a buck not assisting a needy citizen, then the needy citizen just has to find another way of surviving.

    Everytime Rauner talks about taxpayers, he doesn’t mean needy citizens, retirees, or public servants.

  10. - Sick & Tired - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 12:53 pm:

    Something that isn’t made clear enough is that the State has been making all kinds of ridiculous claims as to why it’s a great policy for consumers. If it’s so great, why haven’t we heard of a consumer or advocate who likes this policy? Oh right, because the state is speaking only for itself.

  11. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:03 pm:

    this vote and policy is gonna make a nice negative campaign piece against the gov and the repubs on jcar.

  12. - notbuyingit - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:29 pm:

    just to answer the question…$13/hour in IL for home healthcare worker. 20.50 ot = payment to parents for care: $1696 weekly; $7292/month; $87,513/year assuming 16 hours care per day 7 days per week

  13. - The Real Just Me - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:43 pm:

    Are these the same home health care workers who were declared not to be full-fledged State employees in the US Supreme Court case of Harris v. Quinn? If they are not full fledged State employees, then shouldn’t the patients, who are the employers, be making the decision whether to work their employee more than 45 hours per week? I suspect Governor Rauner has some anti-union angle here, but if home health care workers are not full-fledged State employees then how can the State limit their hours?

  14. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 1:59 pm:

    I’m sorry I can’t help these workers, but will offer this English-usage assistance: a person who provides home health aid is a home health aide, OK?

  15. - Mitzien - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 3:57 pm:

    I’ve worked in the Home Service program as a coordinator for 25 years. To pay personal assistants, overtime would not be cost effective and cost taxpayers. The disabled are not losing services, but the additional care provider can be trained to manage the additional hours. It’s that or scrap the program because it’s not cost effective. Nursing home care would be cheaper.Do the math people.

  16. - LTSW - Wednesday, Mar 15, 17 @ 4:36 pm:

    Remember, in many of these cases we (the state) are paying relatives to take care of family members. There was quite abut of abuse of overtime in the program. From a pure dollar cost equation care for some of these disabled folks would be cheaper in a nursing home. May not be the best care, but that is a policy decision.

  17. - JoeMaddon - Thursday, Mar 16, 17 @ 9:21 am:

    ** It’s that or scrap the program because it’s not cost effective. Nursing home care would be cheaper.Do the math people.**

    LOL - the state estimates that the cost of paying overtime is around $15M a year (in a program that costs about $600M a year). Scrapping the program, and moving everyone into nursing homes, would cost a heckuva’ lot more than $15M.

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