Center of the American Experiment calls on U.S. Supreme Court to protect First Amendment rights of personal care attendants (PCAs)

After filing an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of a St. Cloud University faculty member, Kathy Uradnik, the Center filed an amicus brief in support of a related challenge, Bierman v. Dayton.

The Center’s brief calls on the court to recognize that state laws forcing recipients of government welfare benefits to speak through unions is unconstitutional. It agrees with Petitioners in Bierman v. Dayton that the lower courts have improperly exempted such “exclusive representation” schemes from scrutiny under the First Amendment.

PCAs in about a dozen states have been unionized by government unions such as AFSCME and the SEIU. In Minnesota, PCAs were unionized by the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota under the leadership of former Governor Mark Dayton. Dayton received the endorsement of AFSCME and the SEIU, campaign contributions and other political support. The majority of contributions from government unions, now funded in part by Medicaid dollars, go to DFL candidates and leftist causes.

Like Kathy Uradnik, Teri Bierman — a mother who provides her disabled daughter with home health care under a wonderful Medicaid program designed to keep the disabled out of institutions — should not be forced to associate with a government union with which she disagrees. Teri Berman and other PCAs were declared “public employees” in 2013 by a DFL-majority Legislature. That is a legal fiction designed for unions like the SEIU to expand their membership and revenue by skimming dues from welfare programs, and ultimately to force PCAs to come under state regulation. It is a convoluted scheme that subjects PCAs to state labor laws.

The Bierman case, brought by the National Right to Work Foundation, raises similar claims to Uradnik v. Inter Faculty Organization, which was filed in the U.S. Supreme Court on December 4, 2018 by  The Buckeye Institute. In Uradnik, the Center asked the Court to rule that it is unconstitutional to force bona fide public employees like Kathy to speak through unions that advocate against their interests. As with the Uradnik case, Bierman v. Dayton challenges Minnesota state law which forces individuals, in this case home health care providers, to speak through a government-designated union.

The Center has been working with a coalition called to decertify the SEIU. The SEIU skims millions of dollars in dues from the paychecks of PCAs paid under Medicaid across the country. MNPCA has delivered around 13,000 cards demanding a decertification election.