After six hours of debate, a bill passed the Connecticut state Senate on a party line vote which will force daycare workers and personal care attendants, who receive some payment through public programs, to pay union dues. The bill followed two executive orders by Gov. Dannel Malloy (Democrat-Working Families Party) that forced a card-check type of voting system on these workers. Daycare and home health care attendants will now be members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Two years ago, the New York Post reported that the United Federation of Teachers(UFT) would receive millions of dollars in union dues if New York lawmakers approved a provision in then-Democratic Gov. David Paterson’s budget that would force daycare workers to pay union dues. With help from ACORN, the UFT had added 28,000 city daycare workers to its rolls and negotiated a contract promising health benefits and improved wages at the expense of taxpayers. Regarding the history of this effort, the UFT website states:
Our first efforts were to demonstrate to the state elected officials that childcare providers have problems and there is strong support for forming a union. We proved this by collecting more than 6,000 union card signatures of the 32,000 child care workers citywide in a three-month period. With the help of the UFT and ACORN, we lobbied the state legislature to pass a law stating that childcare providers have the right to form a union…
UFT’s efforts were halted, however, when former governor of New York, Republican George Pataki, vetoed the legislation, leading UFT to make an even bigger push to get these workers unionized:
Fortunately for us, we have formidable allies that support us in our organizing efforts. Thanks to the invaluable support of the UFT, ACORN, Working Families Party, and local ministers and members of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus, we were able to get the override from the Senate. While we wait patiently for the Assembly to reconvene and decide on the bill, we are in the process of collecting the necessary 15,000 signatures needed on union cards, which would allow us to legally become a union.
In Connecticut, individuals with disabilities warned that forced unionization of their personal care attendants could ultimately lead to less control over the services they receive as well as reduced services unless state spending for their programs is increased.
State Senator Joseph Markley (R), who was very critical of the legislation, said the relationship between the disabled and their attendants would now be governed by employer-employee union rules. In addition, he warned that state-administered Medicaid programs that fund home care services limit the amount of money a person can receive to pay for personal care services. Increased “union” wages would then push some people over the cost limit.
Many also criticized Gov. Malloy's use of executive orders to grant unionization rights without including those affected by the orders in the decision-making process.