August 26, 2016

A Conversation between Two PCAs

This post features a comment from Dawn Pruiett originally posted on Center of the American Experiment’s Facebook page and a response from Katherine Hunter. You can see the original Facebook post and comments here:

Dawn Pruiett, August 24:

“I’m a pca and homemaker and I have not had to pay a cent to the union. But I have received over a dollar raise, a week of vacation and possible medical benefits. I only care for relatives and have never been treated so well by any homecare agency. For 20 years, I have had to be a family pca, to keep parents, aunts and uncles in their homes I could work anywhere for more money, 401, pension, bennies, but who would care for my relatives? Homecare agencies know this and for years have under paid and valued employees. In 1 year I have received more money and benefits, through the union that hasn’t cost me a penny! The union r the ones that argue with rich politicians and lobbyists, who have no comprehension of poor pay and no benefits. UNION, UNION, UNION!!!!!”

Response from Katherine Hunter, August 26:

“Unfortunately many misunderstandings about what the SEIU is actually accomplishing is common. I am a parent and PCA of an adult child, but I have also worked as a PCA for others. I am a former teacher who was a member of the teacher’s union, so I know a bit about how a true union operates and I can state with some authority that the SEIU is not what they claim to be. They do not truly represent any PCA. If you are accused of harming a client in any way, the SEIU does not represent you. If you make a mistake on your timesheet and are accused of fraud, the SEIU does not represent you. If you don’t like your working conditions, you cannot strike. In short, the SEIU is a false union, certified by misleading thousands of hard-working, compassionate PCAs. The raise they claim to have got was approved by the legislature BEFORE the union. PTO time has come at the expense of further raises. In addition to working as my son’s PCA, I also employ PCAs for my children and they work for a large non-profit that has always paid more (currently between 12 and 13 dollars an hour) than the minimum $10.75/hour that the union “won”. However, my PCAs did not get a raise this year in order to cover the cost of PTO. Personally, I would have preferred the raise that the legislature approved. There is a finite amount of taxpayer money available. When it is gone, it is gone. The SEIU isn’t raising taxes to pay for anything. They do not have the ability to increase funding in any way at all. Any increase to the Medicaid PCA program has to be VOTED on by the legislature, the men and women that we elect to represent us. The SEIU is a redundancy that has no teeth. To afford higher hourly pay for PCAs, the money has to come from somewhere. I fear that it could start coming from client budgets, from the people with disabilities for whom this money is supposed to benefit, by reducing the number of PCA hours a person is awarded each day. This could become more and more necessary in order to afford higher hourly PCA pay, leaving vulnerable people who depend on this vital program without the PCA coverage they need. Quite simply, the SEIU is taking credit for things it has not provided and cannot provide. How is the SEIU going to improve working conditions for PCAs who work in their client’s homes, or in their own homes, caring for their own loved ones? I do not want to see that type of intrusion. The SEIU is big business, with the top dogs making in excess of $100,000 a year. Under false pretenses and promises, they collect millions in union dues, dues that line their pockets and the pockets of political campaigns of too many career politicians. Currently, the union is not allowed to collect “fair share dues”, but this is only because of a hard-fought case that went to the Supreme Court to keep them from doing so. You can bet if they have their way, everyone will pay someday, whether they want to belong to this false union or not.”