SEIU Healthcare Illinois Statement on State Budget


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 for wrestling with hard choices and choosing to go in the direction of raising revenue in order to make some of the desperately needed investments in Illinois communities. 

We want to express appreciation for the lawmakers, and in particular those in the Black, Latino, Asian and Progressive caucuses, who prioritized the Community Care Program, lifting the hourly wage up to a minimum of $18, an increase of $1 an hour for home care workers. Thanks to their advocacy, over 100,000 seniors across the state will now have a more stabilized work force and more security in the care they rely upon in order to continue living independently in their homes. While this is a crucial step in the right direction, it will take additional investment to lift wages to a level that will truly stabilize this program. We look forward to working with our legislative advocates in the future to secure the funding and wage levels needed to get this program where it needs to be to best serve seniors in the state.

Our members are also appreciative of lawmakers’ protection of a key nursing home staffing level incentive in Medicaid rate reform, and of the new sources of hospital safety funding to offset funding being lost. These are modest but important measures to prioritize safe staffing and to assure healthcare accessibility for communities experiencing the highest unmet needs.

There is work still to do in offsetting the lost ARPA funding, especially in the area of child care—both to make child care more affordable and accessible to families, and to raise wages and improve working conditions to reverse the child care workforce crisis—but we commend Governor’s Pritzker’s commitment to securing new funding.

Overall, we appreciate the work and compromise that went into creating a strong and balanced budget, but there is still more we need to do as a state in terms of securing the revenue necessary to invest in care work—which is crucial to ensuring that care is available to all in Illinois who need it.