Greg Kelley, President of SEIU Healthcare Illinois, issued the following statement in response to the budget passed by lawmakers in Springfield early this morning:
“As a union of frontline workers providing home care, child care and healthcare services, we applaud the leadership of Governor Pritzker, President Harmon and Speaker Welch in passing a balanced budget with significant investment in crucial services that will provide much-needed care to more families and help provide the economic stability that makes it possible for more workers to enter and stay in caring professions.
“We want to express appreciation for the Governor’s leadership in making a historic investment in child care, including investments to stabilize funding and increase wages, improve the Child Care Management System (CCMS), extend child care eligibility to job seekers, and to build a pipeline for apprenticeships and mentorship. All are key investments toward Child Care for All and the Governor rightly recognizes that making child care available for all who need it, with living wage jobs for child care workers, is a crucial foundation for economic growth that benefits all Illinoisans.
“We additionally applaud the General Assembly leaders, especially Senator Omar Aquino, Senator Ram Villivalam and Representative Marcus Evans, for their leadership and commitment to invest in home care when the budget initially offered no funding for home care workers. This funding will raise pay for Illinois Community Care Program agency workers to $17 an hour. This is a significant step in the right direction towards our shared goal of stabilizing the home care workforce and ensuring home care is available to all who need it.
“This budget’s commitment to funding the safety net hospitals that are a crucial healthcare resource for so many underserved communities is especially welcome both to our members who provide care in these facilities and who live in the neighborhoods dependent upon these resources.
“The budget passed this morning provides for significant investments in crucial child care, home care and healthcare services that will help to build stable workforces and healthier communities. We look forward to continue working with the Governor and the General Assembly to address the need for additional investments in the future that will move us further towards the goal of these crucial services being provided to all who need them and by workers paid the wages needed for true economic stability.”