Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has agreed to pay raises and money owed to the state’s more than 40,000 child care workers and home aides.
Under the agreement, close to 28,000 personal assistants working through the state’s home services program will receive the 48-cent per hour raise former Gov. Bruce Rauner refused to give in 2017. Lawmakers had included the raise in that year’s budget proposal.
Close to 14,000 child care workers in the state’s child care assistance program for low-income families will also receive a 4.26 percent rate increase in their daily rate pay. After Rauner also withheld this raise, child care workers sued the state. The agreement ends this litigation.
James Muhammad, spokesperson for SEIU Healthcare Illinois, the union representing the workers, said the outcome was long overdue.
“It’s really like a breath of fresh air from an administration who realizes the importance and value of workers who care for our people with disabilities and our children, some of the most vulnerable in our state.”
Parents who have children receiving services will now have some peace of mind, said Muhammad. “I’m sure that the consumers and the parents of these children appreciate the fact that there will be workers who are paid a wage that at least gets them to a point where they’re beginning to see a benefit.”
This isn’t the first time Pritzker has worked with unions. On his first day as governor, he agreed to pay raises and back pay to state workers represented by AFSCME.
The changes will take effect in April. Back pay for all workers will start coming in during the fall. According to the Pritzker administration, the Home Services Program workers’ back pay has been held in an escrow account holding more than $29 million.