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State Ordered to Turn Over List to Personal Care Attendants Fighting Union

A Ramsey County Court has ordered the Minnesota Department of Human Services to stop stalling and turn over the names of thousands of personal care attendants to a coalition leading a union decertification drive against SEIU Healthcare Minnesota.

Minnesota Personal Care Attendants (MNPCA), a coalition of personal care attendants who provide home-based care for the disabled recently sued three state agencies in an attempt to get an accurate and up-to-date contact list of home care workers to notify about the campaign. MNPCA is working to force a new election in hopes of decertifying the union that won a 2014 low turnout election with just 13 percent voting for unionization.

“This is a victory for PCAs who want to force a new election and decertify this Union,” said Doug Seaton, attorney for MNPCA. “But the fight is far from over.”

After experiencing significant problems with lists previously provided to them, MNPCA had repeatedly asked state agencies and SEIU for an accurate list. The requests were all denied, forcing MNPCA to file the lawsuit.

“The judge’s order acknowledged that PCAs have just as much right to this data as the union, which means MNPCA should have had a good list to work with all along,” said Kim Crockett, Vice President at Center of the American Experiment. “To argue otherwise, as the State did, means that unionization is a one-way street.”

Ramsey County Judge Robert A. Awsumb gave DHS a week to stop stalling and provide MNPCA with the names of all home care workers who’ve been active in the program in the last six months.

“Even with a good list, time is running short,” said Catherine Hunter, a Burnsville home care worker and plaintiff in the case. “We need PCAs all over Minnesota to go to our website, MNPCA.org, and get their election authorization cards mailed in. Please, our task is urgent!”

Officials admitted in court they had not complied with a 2013 law that requires them to keep an accurate list of PCAs in the SEIU bargaining unit. Previously state officials had maintained they would need until November 14 to compile a comprehensive list of home care workers, potentially leaving MNPCA only two weeks to solicit thousands of election authorization cards.

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