The Illinois Senate is telling Gov. Bruce Rauner it doesn’t want prison nurse jobs filled by private contractors.
Plainview Republican Sen. Sam McCann’s measure won approval Wednesday 40-15. It would prohibit the Department of Corrections from eliminating jobs of any state employees who provide prison health care services.
Republican Rauner’s administration announced last week it intended to dismiss 124 union nurses and privatize their positions this summer.
The Senate voted 40-15 on Senate Bill 19, whose chief sponsor is Sen. Sam McCann, R-Plainview. […]
“We have to really think about what’s best for our districts, what’s best for the state, what’s best for these facilities, what’s best for the safety within the facilities,” he said, citing a 400-page study by the federal government that showed serious understaffing by Wexford. There have also been multiple lawsuits filed by inmates alleging inadequate care by Wexford.
“Wexford’s busy counting their money in Pennsylvania. I’m trying to keep Illinoisans working,” McCann said.
Sen. Kyle McCarter, R-Lebanon, said that Wexford has offered to hire at least some of the laid-off nurses. […]
A similar bill passed the General Assembly last year, but was vetoed by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. The bill died when the House failed to override the veto.
* Public Radio…
Governor Bruce Rauner says his plan would save 8 million dollars per year. Private companies, in his view, can do the same work for cheaper. However, Democrats say that’s because private companies don’t pay their workers well. Four Republican senators, including Sam McCann from Plainview, agreed.
“Why can’t we be for working people?” he said. “Why would we let these nurses go, then hire them back the next day…for less.”
The Rauner administration says Illinois has been outsourcing other prison health services for 25 years.
* Menard prison nurse hopes to keep job after layoff notice: For 11 years, Tara Chadderton has worked a graveyard shift at Menard Correctional Center. This past week, she received a layoff notice from the state. This prison nurse refuses to go quietly into the night. Employment in a maximum security prison is not for everyone, but Chadderton said she has found it to be a good fit for her. It takes a certain amount of mental toughness, as there are occasions when she and the other nurses are harassed by the inmates while they make the rounds delivering medication. They have been spit on, and had excrement thrown at them. She said some nights are worse than others.
* Layoffs looming as nurses worry about prison care: She said it is important nurses stand their ground sometimes to get their patients the care that is needed. “These people are somebody’s brother, somebody’s loved one. They’re people, too,” she said. “It’s not my job to judge. We’re hired to take care of them.”
* 13 Dixon prison nurses bracing for layoffs