Joint Committee: Health and Human Relations; Workforce Development [remote]

Chicago City Council

Tuesday, March 14, 2023
1:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m. CDT

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Edited and summarized by the Chicago - IL Documenters Team

Note-taking by Germania Solorzano

Labor Peace Agreement, Social service agencies

Live reporting by Tracy Brannstrom

Labor peace agreement, Social service providers

tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom
This afternoon I’ll be covering Chicago City Council’s Joint Committee meeting on Health/Human Relations @ 1pm CST for @CHIdocumenters #CHIdocumenters. They’ll be voting on labor agreements w/in the healthcare system.

The agenda is here:…

01:08 PM Mar 14, 2023 CDT

tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 2/19
The committee will vote on The Human Services Workforce Advancement Ordinance - introduced in 2019, which would mandate that human service organizations, as a condition of receiving city contracts, have an agreement w/ a union representing or seeking to represent its employees
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 3/19
A labor peace agreement in Chicago would essentially ban healthcare service nonprofits from engaging with any union busting tactics allow its workforce to seek union representation if they want to. This effects NGOs w/ city contracts that reported at least $1 million in revenue
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 4/19
Many provider-organizations spoke against this in public comment, including reps from IL Health/Hospitals Association + the YMCA. They say it will lead to a reduction in care/services for patients, as healthcare orgs will opt out of contracts + funding from the city
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 5/19
Healthcare NGOs who opt out of contracts/funding from the city is a big deal, as Chicago Dept of Public Health Comimssioner Allison Arwady explained, "we [the city of Chicago] are actually a small funder [of care] in the healthcare space"
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 6/19
Arwady: I worry about how inclusive the policy-making process has been - that many healthcare orgs don't even know what's happening. Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza fires back: the council has had 5 listening sessions for orgs and agencies, and have had no response from them
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 7/19
Jonathan Ernst of Chicago Family Support Services: I fear that the cost of care would increase w/ this ordinance.

Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza: "this ordinance gives your [healthcare] workers a voice if they choose to unionize. It doesn't cost you a dime!"
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 8/19
Adrienne Alexander of AFSCME (a union representing public service workers):

This ordinance prevents anti-union tactics by healthcare and human services orgs/agencies -- lobbying for anti-union laws, employers threatening to fire employees, etc. In short -- it protects workers.
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 9/19
Alderman + others repeat: there are NO costs to providers w/ the ordinance. But providers counter: there ARE legal costs assoc. w/ BARGAINING if employees want to unionize. Juan Carlos Linares of a local housing NGO said his org spends $50-75k/year to bargain
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 10/19
Alderman Carlos R. Rosa, in response to how costly union bargaining can be for care-providers: "what this comes down to is, people don't want to respect workers' rights to form a union." He adds: bargaining doesn't need to be complex + costly. Employers choose to make it that way
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 11/19
Ald. Rossana Rodriguez: "I'm shocked to see the kind of effort that's being put in, to try and stop [workers from being able to unionize]." Workers in health/human services face burn-out, lack of job security & "are not being paid enough to take on all the trauma of the city"
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 12/19
Also from Ald. Rodriguez: The opposition we are hearing today is from the CEOs [of service providers], not the workers. Workers aren't here b/c they can't show up to say they want to unionize -- that is the point of this ordinance
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 13/19
Alderman A. Vasquez: if social service organizations are worried about legal fees they would incur in union bargaining, just don't pay lawyers to fight unionization! The bottom line is that if you're getting taxpayer $ to provide services, you shouldn't be allowed to union bust
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 14/19
A slight correction: when I say “healthcare orgs + agencies,” I mean providers of human + social services – housing, food assistance, child care, etc. Like Dept of Public Health Commissioner Arwardy said earlier, Chicago often contracts w/ smaller orgs to provide such services
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 15/19
The Chicago city council voted NOT to pass the Human Service Workforce Advancement Ordinance, meaning that social service orgs who receive taxpayer $ do not need to stop union busting. 12 in favor, 15 opposed, 6 who didn't vote
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 16/19
The record of that ordinance is here:…
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 17/19
WTTW covered the impending vote, and the overall issue, earlier today:…
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 18/19
The council voted to amend the ordinance, removing exemptions for hospitals and Catholic charities. They will take it up at their next meeting, tomorrow, March 15 at 10am CST. It can be livesteamed here:
tracy brannstrom @t_brannstrom 19/19
That concludes my coverage for @CHIdocumenters of Chicago City Council’s Joint Committee meeting for Health & Human Relations, at 3pm CT.

Agency Information

Chicago City Council

The Chicago City Council is the legislative branch of the government of the City of Chicago and consists of the Mayor and Aldermen elected from each of the City’s fifty wards. Source

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