After Class-Action Lawsuit Threat, Rauner Withdraws Termination Process for Thousands of Caregivers of People with Disabilities

Victory for Workers and Consumers as Cruel Overtime Policy Firings Rescinded at 11th Hour

CHICAGO-In a letter delivered Tuesday, the Bruce Rauner administration is announcing officially that it will suspend its punitive “three-strikes-and-you’re-out” policy that could have led to the firing of more than 2,200 personal assistants---about 1/10th of the overall Home Services Program workforce—who care for people with disabilities.

In the face of a class-action lawsuit threatened by SEIU Healthcare Illinois on behalf of Chicago ADAPT and three plaintiffs, the Rauner administration last week rescinded its overtime policy that has thrown the entire system of care for Illinoisans with disabilities into disarray. But it wasn’t until today that the administration announced, in a letter to SEIU Healthcare Illinois attorney Robert Bloch (letter attached) that it would void the “strikes” and remove the sword that has been hanging over the head of workers whose only crime was to care for people in need.

The administration has indicated that it still intends to go forward with overtime limits via the rulemaking process.

Following is the statement of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President Terri Harkin in response:

“Bruce Rauner’s disastrous overtime policy has left people with disabilities in soiled clothing, stuck in unsafe positions in their beds and without groceries; and has separated fathers from caring for their sons. It has brought untold anxiety and disquiet into the lives of thousands of low-wage workers and the people for whom they care.

“Today’s announcement is another major victory for people with disabilities and for the workforce we represent. But we would never have been at this low point in the first place had Bruce Rauner listened and collaborated instead of going it alone down a plainly illegal path.

“We repeat our call for Gov. Rauner to come to the table to come up with solutions for people with disabilities and to abandon the unrealistic system of caps he has pursued in the past. We call on him to do what’s best for Illinois instead of pursuing his rigidly punitive political agenda.”