Personal care attendants file lawsuit and move to decertify SEIU
Minnesota Personal Care Attendants (MNPCA) are suing the State of Minnesota for undermining its drive to decertify the Service Employees International Union by failing to provide up-to-date lists of PCAs as required, the coalition of home care workers and advocates today announced at a State Capitol press conference.
MNPCA needs 30 percent of home care workers statewide to sign a card authorizing an election in order to decertify the SEIU Healthcare Minnesota bargaining unit.
“Right now, we just do not know how big the bargaining unit is because we do not have an accurate list,” said Doug Seaton, an attorney who represents MNPCA members. “We don’t know, therefore, how many PCAs need to sign an Election Authorization Card to effectively call for a decertification election under Minnesota law.”
Personal care attendants are reimbursed under a Medicaid program that supports the care of family members and others with special needs in their homes. Controversial legislation passed in 2013 cleared the way for the bargaining unit by declaring home-based providers “state employees for collective bargaining purposes.”
Union dues are set at three percent of gross pay up to $948 a year. MNPCA contends taxpayer funds for the program were intended to provide care, rather than line the pockets of big labor. SEIU is estimated to receive as much as $4.7 million in annual revenue from the PCA program.
“I don’t need a union to help me take care of my daughter. And I don’t need a union taking three percent of our money,” said Kris Greene, a PCA from Lakeville. “Decertification is the only way to get the SEIU out of our homes and wallets!”
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota established the union with the votes of 13 percent of the estimated 27,000 home-based PCAs in Minnesota at the time. Center of the American Experiment supports the decertification campaign through its Employee Freedom Project.
“Our impression after contacting thousands of PCAs around the state is that they just did not know about the election, and many still do not know they are being represented by the SEIU,” said Kim Crockett, Vice President and Senior Fellow at Center of the American Experiment. “If successful, it may be the largest decertification in U.S. labor history.”
The suit also raises questions over the timing of new contract negotiations between the State of Minnesota and SEIU in light of the decertification effort.
“The SEIU is hurting this wonderful program. And the new contract they are negotiating terrifies me,” said Catherine Hunter, a Burnsville PCA.