September 16, 2016

PCAs Should Vote Again on Unionizing

The St. Cloud Times published this article by Jason Flohrs of Americans for Prosperity on September 16, 2016.

“The union serves little purpose for the people it purports to represent, but is able to siphon off a chunk of taxpayer dollars to support its agenda that would otherwise help disabled Minnesotans.

In the heat of election season, one of the most crucially important elections in the North Star state has nothing to do with politicians or political parties. In the coming months, tens of thousands of hardworking Minnesotans will be able to vote whether to reclaim large sums of money taken from them by unions.

This vote will affect the roughly 27,000 personal care assistants in Minnesota — people who have chosen to be the primary caregiver of a disabled person, usually a family member. In 2013, Gov. Mark Dayton signed into a law a bill that opened these caregivers up for unionization.

Shortly thereafter, the Service Employees International Union, a powerful national labor organization, held a unionization election in which less than 6,000 of the state’s 27,000 PCAs voted. But because a majority of those who voted did so in favor of unionization, the SEIU became the exclusive representative of all 27,000 home caregivers.

The SEIU was able to unionize these PCAs on the grounds that they are “public employees” simply because they receive a small Medicaid subsidy to care for the disabled person. Despite this logic flying in the face of numerous court rulings as well as basic common sense about what makes one a government employee, the SEIU is now siphoning off 3 percent of Minnesota personal care assistants’ Medicaid subsidy.

And what do the caregivers have to show for it? Despite what the union may claim, not much.

The size of the subsidy is not contingent on collective bargaining – it has increased periodically for years before the union marched in. The union cannot negotiate for working conditions or “time off” in the real sense, as PCAs are mostly people caring for loved ones at home, not workers assembling auto parts in a factory.

The union serves little purpose for the people it purports to represent, but is able to siphon off a chunk of taxpayer dollars to support its agenda that would otherwise be used to care for disabled Minnesotans.

As Kris Greene, a PCA in Minnesota told the Daily Caller, the union has “not benefited me or my family. I really feel it’s about politics and not for me or my daughter…I just want to take care of my daughter in the best way that she needs and all this other stuff is just interference.”

Thankfully for Greene and the thousands of other Minnesota home caregivers who want to care for their loved one without the union skimming off the top, there is a remedy: Decertifying the union.

If Greene and her fellow PCAs are able to collect enough signatures by Nov. 20, they will force another vote, in which a majority of caregivers who participate could select to be free from unionization. At, Minnesota PCAs can fill out a card to be mailed in to add their signature in support of a decertification vote.

It would be the largest union decertification in the history of the United States. But Greene and her fellow caregivers are not intimidated because they know that their personal liberty, the integrity of a program they rely on, and the care their loved ones receive are all at stake.

Union decertification and the freedom and additional financial resources that would come with it would do more for thousands of Minnesota families than any politician ever could. That alone makes the decertification effort worth sharing.

Here’s hoping Greene and her counterparts are able to stand up to this powerful-but-unnecessary political machine. When this is all said and done, Green and others can ultimately get back to their first priority: providing care for their loved ones.”

To read this article, please click here.