Illinois bill would give a three-dollar-an-hour raise to “direct service providers”

State Sen. Karina Villa (D-West Chicago) is the sponsor of a bill to give a three-dollar-an-hour raise to “direct service providers” who care for the developmentally disabled. (WJBC file photo)

By Dave Dahl

SPRINGFIELD – People who care for the developmentally disabled say they are due for a raise of three bucks an hour.
Senators Wednesday heard about the bill, as committee chair Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) questioned Kim Zoeller of the Ray Graham Association, a service provider.

“You can rearrange things in order to provide additional funding if you need to,” said the senator. “I just want to clarify that there is nothing in law that requires you to wait a full eighteen months before you can do another wage increase.”

“You’re correct, there’s nothing in law,” Zoeller responded. “However, when – I think all community organizations are very similar in nature to ours – when about 80-85 percent of your budget relies on the General Assembly, while it’s not prohibited, it’s impossible.”

A state-commissioned study’s guideline is that the workers be paid 150 percent of the minimum wage. The sponsor, State Sen. Karina Villa (D-West Chicago), said with the next increase in the minimum wage in January, the pay would be 130 percent.

No vote has been taken on Villa’s bill.

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…