Governor Quinn is not my employer, but that didn’t stop him from ordering me to designate a union representative when he signed Executive Order 09-15. He ordered, “The State shall recognize a representative designated by a majority of individual providers in the Home-based Support Services Program.” This, despite also writing that we “are not State employees, and are not eligible to receive statutory benefits.”
If we are not State employees, how is this his business? I am an individual provider in Illinois’ Home-based Support Services Program. I provide support services to my adult son in our home. My husband is the employer with an FEIN.
Before the ink was dry on the Executive Order, my telephone started ringing, the doorbell started ringing and my mailbox started filling up with brightly colored literature boasting how the SEIU was going to improve my life. Then AFSCME decided to get involved and they started calling, coming to my front door and mailing literature.
Without regard for my personal privacy, the Governor gave SEIU my name, home address and telephone number. Then when AFSCME requested this personal information, he gave it to them. Kansas government protected their service providers’ privacy when SEIU went calling; why didn’t Quinn? Is it because SEIU is a key supporter of the current and former Governor of Illinois?
When I started to ask questions about how the Governor could do this, families across Illinois joined in discussions but the state responded by sending intimidating memos to me and the other individual providers. They told us to report “any written or verbal communications” beyond the Executive Order and State memos and to “strictly limit” our statements. I don’t work for the state – how can they be issuing me gag orders? Should I worry about repercussions for writing this?
Families like mine, we’re not boat rockers. We struggle to keep it all together and there is little extra time to deal with the union’s organizing invasion and gag orders from the State of Illinois. It’s not an easy life but damn it – I’m not too overwhelmed to speak up when someone is trying to take advantage of us and jeopardize the little support we do get.
Forcing me to join a union? Giving out my personal contact information? Responding to my questions and concerns with lightly veiled threats?
What is going on?