The Year of the Worker: Adarra Benjamin’s Story


Meet the working people who are changing their workplaces and our country.

Along with record levels of inequality came an unprecedented and powerful response from working people. Throughout 2019, from nurses and fast food workers to factory workers and school employees, we demanded better working conditions and our right to a voice through a union. We rallied, protested, marched and even went on strike to fight for good jobs and the better futures our families deserve. 

And those actions resulted in big wins. Together, we’re reshaping our country and demanding a fix for the rigged economy. That’s why we’re celebrating 2019 as the year of the worker. Check out some of the top victories working people have won by coming together to demand better this year.

Illinois Home Care Workers Win $30M in Back Pay

The Worker: Adarra Benjamin, Home Care Worker
What She Won: In June, thousands of home care workers employed by the Illinois Department of Human Services won $30 million in long-overdue back pay. The pay stemmed from a 2017 wage increase that finally got implemented, thanks to Governor Pritzker.

SEIU Healthcare Illinois home care workers were also on the frontlines of advocating for and winning a statewide minimum wage increase to $15 an hour, with an even earlier implementation to occur in Chicago.

“After becoming a member… I truly understood what it meant,” said Adarra Benjamin, a Home Care Worker. “We are the union—the workers in general are the union—understanding that if we don’t come together, we don’t have a voice.”

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