On September 21, 2011, Governor Malloy signed Executive Order 10 allowing for the unionization of personal care attendants.
This was not the first time Connecticut had attempted to unionize PCAs. In 2009, HB 6668 proposed creating a PCA Workforce Council and granting bargaining rights to PCAs. The bill died in committee after the majority of those testifying, including PCAs and their employers, opposed it.
In 2011, there was another attempt with the introduction of HB 6486. Again, opponents led by employers with disabilities and their PCAs showed up in force and the bill eventually died in the House.
In August 2011, opponents received word that Governor Malloy was planning to issue an executive order.
After the executive order was issued, opponents held an informational forum to call attention to the issue, and then a press conference to try to stop the release of PCA personal contact information to the SEIU (see first video on right).
During March 2012, the Yankee Institute filed two separate lawsuits in an attempt to block the executive orders (see video of press conference on right).
Yet another PCA unionization bill, HB 5433, died in the Labor Committee in March 2012 (see Cathy Ludlum's testimony in opposition to this bill in the second video on the right). In April and early May, the General Assembly moved to pass HB 5312, using a strike-all amendment to a dummy bill, codifying the executive orders.
The courts ruled that the challenge to Governor Malloy's executive orders was moot because the legislation had passed and superseded the executive orders. http://www.ctmirror.org/health/2012/10/26/lawsuits-challenging-malloy-executive-orders-dismissed
An election took place in March 2012 with only about 18% of the eligible voters casting a ballot for SEIU. Because only ballots returned are counted, and the voter turnout was incredibly low, the majority of ballots returned were in favor. This means that nearly 5,500 of those now exclusively represented by SEIU, did not vote for them.
Through a Freedom of Information Act request, emails were uncovered between the Department of Social Services and the Governor's office where the Department of Social Services warned that collective bargaining could lead to employers with disabilities exceeding caps placed on cost of services which could result in either not enough hours of care or people being forced off the Medicaid waivers and into nursing homes. The email is below.
On March 27, 2014, SEIU announced on its website that it had reached a tentative collective bargaining agreement with the PCA Workforce Council, and announced on April 2 that it had ratified the agreement. No details regarding the specifics of the agreement were forthcoming—highly unusual, as such agreements are typically announced with great fanfare by the union to the media. The agreement was approved by the Connecticut General Assembly buried in a 314-page budget implementer bill with just minutes to go before the end of the legislative session and no time for legislative debate.
On July 1, 2014, as the union contract took effect, opponents of forced unionization held a press conference celebrating the recent Supreme Court decision in Harris v. Quinn and demanded a halt to the collection of agency fees from those PCAs who did not wish to belong to SEIU.
SEIU capitualted, announcing on July 18 that it had requested the state not to collect agency fees, even as they attempted to claim that Harris v. Quinn only applied to Illinois. This will result in significant lost revenue to the union, as the majority of the bargaining unit are not union members:
Dues: 2% according to testimony of David Pickus
Health Insurance: No
Workers Compensation: No
Agency Fees: Authorized in union contract, but not being collected in aftermath of Harris v. Quinn
Contract: Approved by Connecticut General Assembly in last-minute budget implementer bill
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