Despite looming Illinois budget cuts, AFSCME has launched a new effort to win raises for caregivers to developmentally disabled individuals — the same caregivers according to a closure plan by Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration that will ultimately be caring for residents of the Warren G. Murray Center in Centralia.
The goal of the initiative is to raise the starting wage to $13 an hour, with an initial increase of $1 per hour for all direct-support workers in fiscal year 2014.
According to a recent Illinois Association of Rehabilitation Facilities Salary Survey, the average direct-support wage in Illinois is $9.35 per hour—21 percent below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services poverty threshold of $11.32 for a family of four.
State funding for community disability agencies has increased less than one percent per year over the past decade (9.5 percent over 10 years). By contrast, the Consumer Price Index increased 23 percent over the same period.
Nevertheless, the new AFSCME campaign for cost-of-living increase arrives as the House Human Service Budget Committee is seeking to slash spending.