June 03, 2021

Fair pay progress for frontline heroes

After an intensive grassroots lobbying campaign by AFSCME members during the remote legislative session, lawmakers provided funding for a $1.50 wage increase in the state budget for frontline workers at state-funded community disability agencies.

Governor JB Prtizker’s original budget proposal included a $0.50 per hour increase. AFSCME immediately went into action to press for more.

“This is demanding work, yet the starting pay at many agencies is barely above minimum wage,” Council 31 Executive Vice-President and Local 3237 President Yurvette Simmons explained to the Illinois House Appropriations Human Services Committee on May 28.

Testimony like hers, and from relatives of people who participate in these programs, convinced legislators of the dire need to recognize the important work of DSPs by continuing to raise wages to stop the workforce crisis plaguing the system. And to ensure those raises go into the pockets of frontline employees.

AFSCME members made hundreds of calls to legislators, as well as meeting with lawmakers in person and via Zoom to share their stories and concerns. AFSCME Council 31’s lobbying team worked right up until the midnight deadline on May 31 to secure the strongest possible guarantee that employees will receive the raise.

“As is always the case, AFSCME members will now move their campaign from the Capitol to the bargaining table to ensure they receive the raise provided in the budget,” said Council 31 Regional Director Doug Woodson.

Click here to read the full list of legislative progress.


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