Minnesota Personal Care Attendants (MNPCA) hosted a well-attended press conference at the State Capitol on Wednesday, October 19th to announce a lawsuit recently filed against three state agencies. They also provided an update about their effort to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
MNPCA, a coalition of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), is seeking to decertify the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) PCA bargaining unit. The union was formed after Gov. Dayton and the DFL dominated Legislature passed a law allowing home-based providers of child care and personal care to be unionized. The child care union was defeated with the Center’s help on March 1, 2016.
In order to force an election to decertify the SEIU, PCAs must obtain signatures from 30% of PCAs in the bargaining unit. In 2014 there were 27,000 PCAs all over Minnesota, so as many as 9,000 cards could be required.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of seven PCAs by labor attorney Doug Seaton of Seaton, Peters & Revnew, charges that three state agencies have violated the Data Practices Act by refusing to provide PCAs an accurate list of contact information for PCAs. Working off the 2014 list from the SEIU’s 2014 election for the last few months, MNPCA has had considerable difficulty in contacting PCAs, and has no way of knowing how many are currently eligible to sign an Election Card or vote in a decertification election.
As FOX 9 news reported, Attorney Doug Seaton believes, “What is intended here is that we be stalled until it is too late to get the showing we need.”
With this lawsuit, MNPCA hopes to quickly obtain an accurate list of PCAs, among other remedies. The task is urgent, as the Election Cards are due just after Thanksgiving.
Crockett, who directs the Center’s Employee Freedom Project, is confident that if MNPCA can reach PCAs, a vast majority will vote to decertify the SEIU. “When we reach PCAs by mail or Facebook, or in person, they are happy to help.” Still there is a lot of educating taking place. “We have been surprised how many PCAs still do not realize that they are being represented by the SEIU. They never saw a ballot or heard about the election. About 3,500 voted in favor of the SEIU out of 5,800 ballots cast, but under the rules for labor elections, that is all it took.”
MNPCA leaders like Kris Greene and Catherine Hunter never wanted the union and question its role in the 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.
They are concerned that union interference in the PCA Medicaid program designed to support families of children with disabilities will harm both caregivers and care recipients. “As a taxpayer, I find it reprehensible that the legislature would allow the SEIU to skim union dues off of this program,” said Hunter.
MNPCA is working hard to obtain enough election cards, trying to make the best of a bad list. With the success of the press conference, MNPCA is hoping that thousands of PCAs will hear about the effort and go to MNPCA.org and send in their Election Card.