Minnesota Looking To Force Unions On Home Care Workers Again

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Last year Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton attempted to force unions on home care workers through legislative fiat. It didn’t work, a judge shot it down noting that the governor can’t impose that sort of policy without approval from the legislature, but now Minnesota has Democrat majorities in the legislature and the unions want the issue brought up again.

The idea is that because these workers get Medicaid funding, they’re defacto government employees and thus should pay dues to public worker unions.

One of the state’s largest unions will be approaching the all-DFL government for the authority to unionize thousands of in-home personal care assistants – the people who care for elderly and disasbled [sic] people in their homes.

The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, was one of the unions that sought last year to organize in-home child care workers. That effort failed, after running into opposition from the Republican-controlled Legisalture and the courts.

Here’s the thing: Home care workers work directly for their patients. They’re not employed by the government. So there really is no “management” for unions to collectively bargain with.

It would not apply to those directly employed by agencies, who already have the right to organize unions; rather, it would cover those in the so-called “self-directed” program, in which the workers are hired and fired by the person receiving the care.

What’s more, if the legislature takes up what Governor Dayton proposed last year, most of these workers won’t even get a chance to vote on whether or not to unionize (though they would be obligated to pay dues).

The only child care providers eligible to vote on whether to unionize are those providers that are state-licensed and state-subsidized. So a small fraction of the providers will vote to unionize — and then, more than likely, all Minnesota childcare providers will be forced to pay union dues.

So, in summary, the union wants to represent a group of workers to management which doesn’t exist (and collect dues for the privilege, naturally), and that group of workers won’t even get to vote on whether or not they even want to be in a union.

A situation made all the worse when you realize that many of these care workers are family members taking federal subsidies to stay at home with a sick loved one. The unions want to take money from those people. Just, you know, because.

One almost gets the idea that this is about revenue for the unions and not, you know, representing workers.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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