My name is Catherine Hunter. I’m a mom and a PCA.
I am writing to you because if you are a PCA, your name is on a public DHS list. The list is public because in 2013, PCAs in the Choice program were declared “state employees” but only so we can be unionized.
Did you know that Choice PCAs are in a union called the SEIU? And that the SEIU is negotiating a new contract for us with the state?
I have read every word of the proposed SEIU contract and it scares me to death.
This union wants our cell numbers and emails, all of our PRIVATE information, including our HOUSEHOLD incomes! They want FULL ACCESS into our lives, and for families like ours, they WILL get access to our loved ones’ information because so many times these “participants” live with us!
They can say that participants’ information will not be disseminated because of privacy laws, but for participants who live with us, their addresses, etc., will definitely be shared with the union and the public.
Moreover, if the agency or fiscal intermediary of my choice “messes up” as determined by the union, they could go out of business, forcing me to find another, presumably union-friendly agency.
We have to stop this union. And the only way to do that is to decertify the SEIU.
We love the Choice program because it empowers us. The union takes all of that away. With the union, we lose power and control over what is best for our loved ones. This is terrifying. This can’t happen.
There were 27,000 PCAs in the Choice program at the time of the 2014 vote. Only 13% (about 3,500) PCAs voted YES to be in a union.
I was lucky. I heard about the election and sent in my ballot, though I almost forgot because I get so focused on caring for my disabled sons and family.
And the ballot looked a lot like junk mail!
But in the end my vote did not matter because so few of us voted! Let’s not let that happen again.
When we talk to PCAs around the state, it is hard to find one who wants the SEIU speaking for us at the Capitol. But that is where we are, whether we like it or not.
Yes, we are all represented by the SEIU even if we have not joined the union or paid any dues.
Even if you sent a letter to SEIU telling them not to deduct dues, they still represent you with DHS and the state.
If that does not make any sense, check out the FAQs here at MNPCA.org
PCAs are not “public employees” like teachers or cops who have to pay at least “fair share dues.”
The United States Supreme Court ruled in Harris v Quinn that home-based PCAs are not “full-fledged public employees.” So unless you signed a union card, you do not have to pay ANY dues to SEIU—not a dime. (If you did sign a card, you can “opt out.”)
But the Supreme Court said that the SEIU can still represent union members and non-members like me if the state legislature says so—and the Minnesota legislature did just that in 2013.
You might be thinking, “Why do I care?”
After all, PCAs who have been around the Choice program know that everything we get comes from the legislature. It always has and it always will because this is a Medicaid program funded jointly by Congress and Minnesota.
SEIU can promise the moon but if it is not funded, it is just an empty promise.
That is why the new Overtime Rule has been such a disaster for PCAs and our clients—it was not funded!
Did you know that the SEIU lobbied for the new Overtime Rule using union dues from PCAs?
And now the SEIU has opened negotiations for a new contract, even though our current contract does not expire until June 30, 2017!
The union is doing that to try to defeat our effort to decertify them. They are hoping to out-maneuver us and lock in their union.
SEIU has not yet submitted all its demands. It says it is waiting until later for “economic terms.”
This is why the SEIU contract scares me to death. The expense of union membership, with the knowledge that dues are used for high union salaries and political agendas, are only part of what is at stake here.
These demands make it clear that SEIU is using the contract to expand its membership and get more dues. Worse still, they are invading our privacy and compromising the program we love. Here are just a few examples of what the union asked the state for on September 30th:
- The SEIU is asking the statedisclose your household income! Their excuse is they need the information to do a health care study!
- The SEIU is asking DHS togive the union our primary cell and home phone numbers, emails and whether or not we get healthcare or other fringe benefits through an agency-even if we have not joined the union!
- The SEIU is using the contract and trainings for CPR and First Aid to get amandatory 30-minute meeting with all new PCAs so they can talk them into joining the union.
- They are asking DHS torequire CPR and First Aid certifications from ALL PCAs in 2018. These trainings are a great idea but we do not need SEIU creating another red-tape mess!
- The SEIU goes after agencies hard—agencies that are acting only as fiscal intermediaries—treating agencies like an employer when in reality we’re now considered employees of the state! I am worried that agencies will get hurt or frustrated with the program and close their doors.
You can read the proposed changes to the current contract here at MNPCA.org. We had to fight to get a copy, but we got it!
Friends, we have to stop this union. Like I said before, we love the Choice program because it empowers us. The union takes all of that away. With the Union we lose power and control over what is best for our loved ones. Please help me stop this from happening.
Here’s what we need to do:
If 30% of PCAs in the Choice program say they want a NEW ELECTION, then we get one in 2017. We’ll need 10,000 PCAs to send in an Election Authorization Card by Thanksgiving.
Would you do me a favor—do yourself and your family a big favor– and send in your Election Authorization Card this week?
We have made it really easy. Click on the “Election Authorization Card” tab above and enter your information.
The Election Authorization Card is generated on your computer as a document:
- Open the document,
- Print it out
- Sign it(do not write anything else on it or it will not be counted), then
- Put it in the mail (you can find our address at the bottom of this post or on the card)
If you do not have a printer or need help, give us a call: (612) 460-5457 or send us an email at [email protected]
And if you know any other PCAs, would you please make sure their cards are turned in, too?
Can you believe it? The leaves have turned, and soon we will be planning Thanksgiving. Let’s get this done!
Thank you for listening,
Mom and Choice PCA
P.S. You can watch a video of my story and why I think the SEIU is a threat to this wonderful program!