Tuesday, the Care Campaign kicked off our legislative efforts to increase wages for direct
support staff! Advocates met with the Editorial Board of the State Journal Register and then
proceeded to the Capitol for a press conference. After the press conference, advocates
delivered over 10,000 post cards to Governor Quinn’s office. Charlotte Cronin represented
The Arc in these events. Thanks Charlotte!
Union leaders and nonprofit groups are asking Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to support an effort to
increase wages for people who care for the developmentally disabled.
The efforts comes on the heels of Quinn’s push to increase Illinois’ minimum wage, from its
current $8.25 to $10 an hour, and is likely to be a divisive issue ahead of the November
The “Care Campaign” plans to deliver an estimated 10,000 post cards to Quinn’s office on
Tuesday to urge him to support the effort to increase caregivers’ wages. The plan would
establish starting wages for such workers and increase the amount Illinois gives to nonprofit
groups that have state contracts to care for the developmentally disabled.
Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson did not immediately respond Monday for comment as
to whether the governor supports such an initiative.
A recent Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities survey puts the wage of caregivers
working at community-based developmental disability at $9.35 an hour, which it says leads to
workers taking on overtime hours and second jobs or relying on food stamps.
Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME, the state’s largest employee union, said Illinois has
not increased reimbursement for such nonprofit groups to correspond with the cost of living
increase, causing wages to fall behind. AFSCME represents some 5,000 workers employed by
community-based nonprofit agencies, Lindall said.
State Sen. Dan Kotowski, chair of the Senate appropriations committee, noted “the playing field
hasn’t been level for people who work for community-based agencies versus those who work
directly for state agencies.”
But some lawmakers argue that the state, which faces roughly a $6 billion backlog of bills this
year, must deal with existing obligations before taking on new ones.
A tax increase approved in 2011 and billed as temporary is scheduled to roll back from 5
percent to 3.75 percent next January. If that happens, budget experts predict the state would
have roughly $1.5 billion less to spend in 2015.
The bills are HB3698 and SB2604
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423