In 2006 the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill allowing personal care attendants (PCAs) to be unionized. Governor Romney vetoed the bill, saying that the legislation "appears to be designed exclusively to benefit a particular union by supplementing its membership with private sector and not-for-profit employees at the taxpayers' expense." The legislature then unanimously overrode his veto, with SEIU threatening a ballot measure if they failed to do so.
SEIU then filed for an election. The mail ballot election took place in November of 2007. Out of the 22,000 eligible voters, only 6,135 voted for SEIU. However, since only ballots returned are counted and fewer than 7,000 returned their ballots, the union was able to win the election with only 28% voting in their favor. Nearly 16,000 PCAs who did not vote for SEIU are now exclusively represented by them and are required to pay hundreds per year in dues/agency fees.
In their first contract, the union negotiated an increase over the three years of the contract from $10.84 to $12.48. It was also supposed to provide health insurance but it appears the program was terminated or capped not allowing new members to enroll.
The second contract was not so successful. While the union got one million dollars to use for training, the PCAs only received a total increase of ninety cents over the course of three years. The health insurance program is supposed to have a "reopener" after a subcommittee has met to assess PCA health insurance needs.
A comment left by a PCA at the bottom of this article is telling. Frustrated with the broken promises she can't even get the union to return her phone calls.
"This supposed 90 cent raise ova 3 yrs 4 Mass PCA’s was suposta start July 1st w/ a 30 cent raise 2 b followed by another 30 cents next July 1st then 30 cents July 1st 2014. I say supposed because July 1st has come & gone & my fellow PCA both received only a 20 cent raise & nobody @ the local union will return my call 2 explain. I was told about the raise from a union rep! I feel lied 2 & am pissed off that the rep who told me will not call me back! She also said that Mass won’t give us Health Insurance either! Wuts that about? That’s the only reason I joined 1199. So now I hafta pay fully 4 insurance & can barely pay & now on top of that, Im being shorted on my supposed raise. Outrageous! Now, I am no longer a member & still have 2 pay 1.2% of my pay? This is a joke! There r no benefits of being in this union other than training! This is wut their union is about? I’d prefer 2 call it a fraud! People should wake & look @ wuts really goin in in their “union” cuz I’ve ben in em b4 & this is nothing like any union I’ve ever ben in!"
Health Insurance: It appears to have been revoked or capped
Agency fees: Yes
Contract: Yes, Active. See first contract linked below.