Under the guise of granting higher wages and healthcare benefits to daycare providers and personal care attendants, Connecticut’s Democratic-led state House has passed a bill that will force these workers to collectively bargain with the state.
However, the director of the Connecticut chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP) said on Friday that the measure, proposed as an amendment to another bill, will force daycare providers to unionize with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). According to JR Romano of AFP in Connecticut, the bill is “a direct assault on female business owners.”
State Sen. Edith Prague (D- Working Families Party) and State Rep. Zeke Zalaski (D-Working Families Party), who co-chair the Labor and Public Employees Committee, introduced an amendment that will essentially put a stop to a lawsuit against Gov. Dannel Malloy (D-Working Families Party), who issued two executive orders forcing a “card check” voting system for unionization of daycare workers and personal care attendants.
The executive orders drew considerable criticism from opponents who accused Gov. Malloy of overstepping his authority in issuing them. An organization called We, the People of Connecticut and the conservative think tank, Yankee Institute for Public Policy, both filed lawsuits against the governor. In addition, daycare workers, personal care attendants, and people with disabilities have charged that unionization would increase wages and costs for daycare and attendant services, leading to a reduction in services and inserting the union in the personal relationship between service providers and their customers. Most owners of daycare businesses, in particular, are women.
Gov. Malloy and the Democrats were able to manipulate a union deal because many personal care attendants are paid through a Medicaid waiver system and some daycare providers receive payment through the Care 4 Kids program.
According to CT News Junkie, the bill, if passed, could have far-reaching effects on the relationship between service providers and their customers. One woman, whose disabled daughter receives the services of a personal care attendant, said, “We’re talking about mom and pop daycare providers in little houses and people in individual settings with developmental disabilities. It’s really hard to equate that that’s a union world…I don’t agree with them controlling the workforce. I don’t agree with them setting the wages and I don’t agree with them deciding the benefits. It puts another layer between us.”
According to Mr. Romano, “Sen. Prague and Rep. Zalaski might as well start collecting a check from the unions. They are doing more to fill the coffers of SEIU than they are for the hardworking families in the state of Connecticut.”
Gov. Malloy won his election largely because of the efforts of unions. In March of 2011, he addressed public sector unions when union leadership complained about what many believed were minor concessions. “The reality is in many ways, I won this election because of you. And in many ways this election was as close as it was because of you. And I’m proud of that,” the governor said.
A similar “forced” unionization of personal care attendants took place in Michigan last year. According to Michigan Capitol Confidential, home health care workers were “railroaded” into the SEIU.
“Union dues have been extracted from the taxpayer-funded checks they’ve received ever since. This represents a transfer of more than $28 million from taxpayers to the coffers of the SEIU,” the news service states. “Tens of thousands” who care for those with disabilities in their homes–even those caring for their own relatives– have been“forced” to join the SEIU and pay dues.
The Connecticut state Senate will vote on the bill on Wednesday.