Welcome to PCA Union Information
This site is brought to you by concerned citizens including PCAs and members of the disability community who oppose the unionization of personal care attendants (PCAs). Personal care attendants, who are often referred to as personal care assistants, home health aides, home care workers, or personal assistants, are employees hired by the elderly or disabled persons they care for. They are not employees of the state and therefore should not be forced into a mandatory, exclusive relationship with a labor union, nor should they be required to pay hundreds of dollars per year in dues or involuntary fees to a union they do not wish to belong to.
In states across the country, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have worked with politicians they helped elect, to reclassify these employees of people with disabilities and seniors as employees of the state for the sole purpose of unionization. While most of the PCAs paying dues and fees do not receive health insurance benefits and many have not received a significant increase in pay, this scheme has proven to be incredibly lucrative for the unions. Between dues, fair share or agency fees, and other negotiated contributions from the state, we estimate they have raked in hundreds of millions of dollars since this first began.
We have compiled information from states that have unionized or attempted to unionize PCAs and are adding more information as we get it. If you are a PCA, please look closely at what has happened in each state that has unionized. The benefits negotiated into a union contract can be done without a union. Should your elected representatives really require you to pay hundreds of dollars per year to a union that supports them before they are willing to support you?
Harris v. Quinn: Supreme Court forbids PCA unions from charging non-member agency / "fair share" fees:
On June 30, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that PCAs who are employed by recipients of Medicaid waiver programs are not "full-fledged state employees" and thus the First Amendment forbids unions from charging agency fees to non-members. The Court held that PCAs were primarily employed by the people with disabilities they cared for, and that an earlier decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, did not apply when the state had so little involvement in the day-to-day employment relationship.
While the ruling in Harris v. Quinn does not directly address the issue of forced union representation, and does not strike down the unionization laws in states that currently have them, it is a victory for the right of PCAs (and by extension, family childcare providers) who do not wish to subsidize the speech of unions who are involuntarily representing them.
The opinion of the Supreme Court delivered by Justice Samuel Alito (and the dissent by Justice Elena Kagan) can be found at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/11-681_j426.pdf
For more information on Harris v. Quinn, please CLICK HERE.
Attention Minnesota PCAs:
On July 8, 2014, SEIU announced that it has collected enough signed cards to call for a unionization election, which will likely occur in late July or early August. CLICK HERE for more information on the unionization process in Minnesota.
Attention PCAs in Connecticut, Oregon, and Washington:
Three SEIU locals (SEIU District 1199NE in Connecticut, SEIU Local 503 in Oregon, and SEIU Healthcare 775NW in Washington) have all announced that they will no longer withhold agency or "fair share" fees from PCA paychecks:
While all of these SEIU locals are claiming that Harris v. Quinn only applies to Illinois, they know that if they tried to collect these nonmember fees, they would lose a court challenge. In Washington, PCAs need to affirmitavely opt-out in order not to be charged fees. A sample letter on how to do so has been posted by the Freedom Foundation:
We would like to give a special thanks to Stephen Mendelsohn and Cathy Ludlum, advocates of the disability community who have spent countless hours compiling information and resources to share with others. Your tremendous contribution to this cause is what made this website possible. Thank you!