Child-care workers protest unpaid wages from state of Illinois

A group of Illinois child-care workers ignored frigid temps on Thursday and staged a protest over unpaid wages.
February 27, 2014 5:38:27 PM PST
A group of Illinois-based child-care providers ignored frigid temps on Thursday and staged a protest over unpaid wages.

Protestors claim thousands of workers is owned pay from the state of Illinois.

A few dozen care providers spoke for about 28,000 workers and their union, SEIU, says they are not being paid because of a glitch in the system.

This glitch has become a big problem for many workers.

''I don't know what we're going to do, it has become a hardship,'' said Dorothy Riddick, a child-care provider.

The workers get paid by the state as part of a program that provides assistance for low-income families.

The protest was held at Deloitte's headquarters and is the firm that maintains the system that determines eligibility.

The workers say a major glitch in the system that has prevented payments from being processed since October 2013.

One worker brought the children she watches into the building, asking to speak with a representative from the company, but after waiting 45 minutes, she gave up and left.

The SEIU represents the workers, and say they have faced eviction, disconnected utilities and late payment fees because they have not been paid.

Union leaders say they're being told the problem involves some technical glitch which is apparently difficult to fix. They believe the state has the funds ready to pay the workers, but needs the system to determine who is eligible for payment.

Workers say they are caught in the middle.

''So we just have to wait and it's not fair,'' said Sharon Norwood, a child-care provider.

Representatives from Deloitte have not issued a response that addresses the union's concerns as of Thursday afternoon.

On Thursday evening, the Illinois Department of Human Services issued the following statement: "The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) recently began using a new electronic document management computer system to support the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The new Child Care Management System (CCMS) will improve the accuracy and timeliness of eligibility determinations, notification of approvals, denials, requests for additional information and cancelations. As part of this critical transition, some CCAP providers have experienced temporary payment delays. However, the majority of our issues have been resolved - about 90% of payments have been processed and we anticipate the other 10% to be addressed in the next two weeks. CCAP providers were paid $76 M in Nov. 2013; $66 M in Dec. 2013; $42 M in Jan. 2014; and $73 M in Feb. 2014. Child care workers provide a vital service to working parents and we recognize how important their payments are. We appreciate patience and apologize for any inconvenience the delays may cause. Therefore, the department will help anyone who is experiencing a hardship as a result of the delays."


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