Rally in Springfield for better pay

Members of Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Healthcare say home care jobs need to be more attractive. (Dave Dahl/WJBC)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – In another sign that the pandemic is moving farther into the past, hundreds of union members crowded into the Capitol Rotunda Thursday to rally for higher wages for home care workers.

Members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois contend that higher wages, including the actual wage also being paid during training, would lead to less turnover and better caregivers.

“Our home care industry has a 65 percent turnover nationally,” said State Sen. Javier Cervantes (D-Chicago). “That is unacceptable. It is important that we take steps, making home care jobs good jobs that pay well, better benefits and quality training for all.”

“We’re gonna get that eighteen” dollars per hour, said Greg Kelley, the union’s president. “But we ain’t gonna stop at eighteen. Are we gonna stop at eighteen? Eighteen is the floor!”

Kelley added that for all the talk of “health care heroes” during the pandemic, the nation has a short memory, with an average wage of about fourteen dollars an hour.

And the crowd heard from someone currently on the front lines. “We are caring for others’ loved ones, and we should be paid a living wage that allows us to take care of our loved ones, too.”

Dave Dahl can be reached at [email protected]


Labor Day – Expanding voting rights for all

By Mike Matejka Because of COVID, there is no Labor Day Parade this year.  It’s always a great event for our everyday workers to march proudly down the street and enjoys the festive crowd. If there had been a parade, this year’s Labor Day theme was to be “150 years of struggle: your right to vote.” …

Is federal mobilization the answer?

By Mike Matejka As President Donald Trump threatens to send federal marshals into Chicago, over the objections of Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, recall another Illinois Governor who protested the incursion of armed federal personnel into the city.   Those federal troops, rather than calming, escalated the situation, leading to deaths and violence. Illinois poet Vachel Lindsay…

In these troubled times, to my fellow white Americans

By Mike Matejka Our nation is at a unique watershed in human relations. African-Americans have been killed too many times in the past before George Floyd, but the response to this man’s death is international and all-encompassing. I was a grade-schooler during the Civil Rights 1960s. I watched Birmingham demonstrators hosed and the Selma – Montgomery…

Workers’ Memorial Day – Remember those whose job took their life

Looking around our community, when we say employer, most will respond to State Farm, Country, or Illinois State University.   We too often forget those who are building our roads, serving our food, or our public employees. COVID-19 has made us more aware of the risk.  Going to work every day for some people means…