-Illinois
5:04 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Illinois Home Care Workers Call For Wage Increase

Personal home care workers paid by the state say they're overdue for a raise.

Tressa Wilson is one of the thousands of personal support workers in Illinois who see to the needs of those with disabilities--needs ranging from feeding and bathing to companionship and general care.

Wilson, who lives in Rockford, also has four daughters to take care of. And after working 12 years in the field, she says earning $10.51 an hour isn't cutting it for her family.

Rep. Robyn Kay
Credit ilga.gov

"I must work overtime to make ends meet to feed me and my kids, keep a roof over our head. I refuse to go to public assistance, that's something that I don't want to do," Wilson said.

Wilson traveled to Springfield in support of legislation sponsored by Representative Robyn Gabel, a Democrat from Evanston.  Gabel wants to increase the hourly wage of these workers to $13 by 2016.

"When we put money into the pockets of low-income workers, that money goes right into the economy and the economy starts to grow," Gabel said.

Supporters of the increase say the low wages lead to high-turnover, which hurts disabled individuals in their care.