Senators Joe Markley, Jason Welch and Representative Rob Sampson urge the Administration to not hand over private Personal Care Attendant (PCA) lists to SEIU.
“The Governor has created working groups and a council to look into how best to structure collective bargaining rights and relationships for personal care attendants. But what we see now is the intent was simply to provide a rubber stamped road map to unionize these workers,” said Senator Markley. “None of the groups have even had the chance to examine the issue carefully and yet the unionization process has begun.”
At a recent Personal Care Attendant and Quality Homecare Workforce Council meeting it was clear the group was not comfortable with the Executive Order language stating private information of PCA’s be released to the union.
“Despite the obvious conflicts with federal and state laws regarding who constitutes an employer, the employer/employee relationship, community of interest, the unionization process and collective bargaining, as well as the clear lack of executive authority for any of it, this process continues to march forward,” said Rep. Sampson. “This week we have learned the Governor is handing over the names of more than 8,000 Personal Care Attendants to SEIU. It’s clear that this is just simply part of a nationwide effort to create more dues-paying members. ” added Representative Sampson.
This type of coordination has been attempted in fifteen states. Some have resisted it successfully; the delegation says they will continue to fight it here in Connecticut.
“The process has been suspect from the start, beginning with Governor Malloy’s executive order, which ignored the will and the authority of the legislature,” remarked Senator Markley. “Now the administration is turning its back on PCA’s and disabled residents, who have traveled to the Capitol numerous times in the last few weeks to testify before the working groups and council – pleading with members to leave the intimate working relationship between PCA’s and the disabled and elderly alone.”
Senator Welch says, “Handing over these private PCA names and addresses is ignoring the will of the people. It’s a predestined decision: pay dues to a union, and accept the deal negotiated no matter if you want to be in a union or not.”
Cathy Ludlum, from Manchester knows all too well the how this Executive Order will affect the quality of life for so many. “Money and benefits are important, of course, but attracting and retaining QUALITY workers involves so much more. I should know. Due to a severe physical disability, I have only the use of three fingers, my five senses, my voice, and my brain; I use a power wheelchair. Yet I have been living independently with the support of my personal assistants since 1992,” said Ludlum.
“I have a staff of approximately 12: eight part-time assistants per week and four backups. Their average time with me is about three years because they graduate or move on to accomplish other dreams, but some have stayed for close to a decade. No one here feels trapped,” she added.
“I offer perks such as training, experience, and access to a network full of opportunities. I make sure I always have enough support so that people can have time off whenever they need it.” Ludlum concluded by saying, “We celebrate each other’s successes; we mourn one another’s losses. We work as a team and we function like a family.”
If there is a movement for unionization, the delegation believes it should come from the people in the industry, not be imposed by the Governor in league with SEIU.