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Decertification Election Bill for PCAs Advances in the Legislature

As you may recall, Gov. Dayton succeeded in unionizing personal care attendants (PCAs) who care for the disabled in their homes. It is a Medicaid program aimed at helping families keep their disabled loved-ones at home and out of expensive and impersonal institutions. Most of the PCAs are family or friends of the disabled but some are good people who view this as a job or a way to supplement income.

But Congress never intended for this to be a jobs program, or for the Medicaid payments to be transferred to government unions like the SEIU. Our estimate is that about $200 million in Medicaid funds is being skimmed by unions in about 11 states. They are all blue states, by the way.

Last session, the Health and Human Services bill signed into law contained a very odd provision.

The provision appeared during the late-night negotiations during the special session. It empowered the governor’s agents to not only negotiate a new contract with the SEIU but it pre-ratified that contract with absolutely NO legislative review or approvals.

Why would the Legislature reward a provision that cuts them out of the process?

Now that contract is being used to bar the decertification election that almost 11,000 PCAs have asked for through the efforts of MNPCA.org

MNPCA’s decertification election bill, sponsored by Sen. Michelle Benson ((S.F. No. 3983) would lift that bar without affecting the contract. That seems like a fair compromise even for union supporters.

If they think the SEIU is needed and doing a good job, they should not fear this election.

Sen. Benson’s bill advanced on Thursday, April 19, 2018, when the Minnesota Senate Committee on State Government Finance and Policy and Elections, chaired by Sen Mary Kiffmeyer, approved the bill.

Attorney Doug Seaton, PCA Kris Greene and her daughter Meredie, and I testified for over an hour about the injustice that has been done to PCAs, and the Medicaid program called PCA Choice.

Other committees, and both the House and Senate majorities must pass the bill and Gov. Dayton must sign it, but this is a very positive step. Here are some highlights of the bill and why it’s important:

  • It allows PCAs to vote in the legally-authorized “decertification election” to decide whether or not to retain SEIU Healthcare Minnesota as their “exclusive representative” with the State and says the new SEIU contract doesn’t stop the election.
  • It affects approximately 20,000 PCAs, most of whom provide personal care for their own disabled family members(s), in order to avoid costly institutionalization and keep families together.
  • Almost 11,000 PCAs have signed requests for this decertification, the most in all of U.S. union history.
  • Currently, SEIU Healthcare “represents” all of the PCAs (even though only a few thousand are actually members), because about 3,500 of them voted for SEIU in 2014, fewer than 15% of the total.
  • Whether SEIU wins or loses the election, no PCA’s pay or benefits change; the Legislature would continue (as now) to appropriate money for the program, with input from all PCAs, not just SEIU.
  • SF3983 does not affect SEIU’s “representation” role until and unless SEIU loses the PCA vote in the election.
  • If SEIU lost, they could no longer deduct “dues” from PCAs’ Medicaid payments for their disabled family member(s), but any PCA who chose to continue to make dues payments could do so.
  • The pending U.S. Supreme Court case Janus does not affect PCAs, because separate case law controls.
  • The SEIU will say that dues are “voluntary” but the SEIU “represents” all PCAs, whether members or not, the SEIU controls the contract and now dominates the PCA program itself, and SEIU takes “dues” from many PCAs who are not members under false pretenses.
  • SEIU will also say that MNPCA is “too late” with the 11,000 cards but this was only because DHS, MMB and BMS refused to provide names and addresses of PCAs until ordered to do so by Ramsey County Court.
  • The SEIU representatives obtain “authorization” signatures from PCAs to deduct dues by telling PCAs they are only “correcting records,” “petitioning for better benefits,” “doing their jobs,” etc., and do not disclose that this is a membership application and dues deduction form, or explain the financial impact (up to $948 per year) or the fine print limiting a PCA’s ability to terminate the authorization. Signatures have also been forged.
  • The total “dues” deducted and other payments SEIU receives for “training,” etc. amount to millions of Medicaid dollars per year, which pay for dozens of $70,000 per year SEIU salaries and lots of political contributions, all from taxpayers, but PCAs receive no genuine services and SEIU doesn’t fund any PCA wages or benefits.
  • Child care providers subsidized by Medicaid under the same law as PCAs voted down the AFSCME Union by almost a 3:1 margin when they had a full and fair election in 2016.

Again, if legislators think the SEIU is needed and doing a good job, they should not fear this election.

Let the 10,000 plus PCAs  who have signed a card, have a fair election. 

Any questions, please call MNPCA at
(612) 460-5457

 

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