The campaign to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) for Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) is still moving forward. Doug Seaton, of the law firm of Seaton, Peters, and Revnew, reported that about 5,500 signed election authorization cards had been collected. That represents 1,000 more PCAs than voted for the union (SEIU Healthcare Minnesota) in 2014.
This is an issue of concern for all taxpayers, since funds intended for care are instead being taken by SEIU. MN State Senator Dan Hall has confirmed that SEIU does not pay or provide any direct benefits to PCAs. Federal and state Medicaid/Medical Assistance funds allocate benefits for the disabled, including the PCA care stipend. The legislature appropriates this money. While SEIU argues that they would negotiate these payments with the state on behalf of the PCAs, any trade association for PCAs could provide the same service. There are trade associations that are willing to play this role for a $100 a year voluntary membership. SEIU imposes a mandatory pay deduction of 3% of the benefit payment up to $948 a year. This represents a take of $4 to $5 million dollars from the legislated appropriations for the PCA program.
Minnesota PCAs (MNPCA) filed an election petition on December 2, 2016. MNPCA requested that the Bureau of Mediation Services (BMS) schedule a new PCA election. BMS actually dismissed that petition, ruling that MNPCA had not collected enough authorization cards. However, its ruling did not state what quantity of cards would be required.
The Ramsey County District Court is still considering the MNPCA case, filed in October 2016, as previously reported here requesting a proper list of PCAs in Minnesota and to sanction the state for stonewalling that request. MNPCA plans a status conference with the Judge this week and will seek the Court’s help given the dismissal of the petition by BMS.
The intent of the cards is to establish that at least 30% of PCAs in the existing bargaining unit are requesting that BMS conduct the election by secret ballot. The election, in turn, would determine whether a majority of eligible voters who cast their ballots no longer want to be represented by the SEIU union.
SEIU-Healthcare Minnesota claims that as many as 8,000-to-9,000 cards may be needed, even though only 3,543 PCAs voted for them in the first place. However, Doug Seaton feels that the momentum and the time are there to collect more cards.