There’s a battle raging in the Oregon legislature that seems to be playing itself out in other regions of the country as well, and it involves in home care aides, the men and women who care for aging and disabled individuals in their homes. In this battle, Democrats aim to tie these home care workers to the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) while Republicans are determined to block any such legislation that would force home care aides to pay union dues when they don’t want to be members of such a union.
This would cover not just home care providers working for agencies or independently, but also the thousands upon thousands of family members receiving reimbursement from the state while caring for a loved one.
The SEIU is a powerful union with significant political clout, almost exclusively in support of Democratic candidates and policies. While the ultimate focus (at least as what’s advertised through politically motivated ads) is to protect these ‘workers,’ there are numerous questions as to what this legislation will actually do. Republican legislators claim they’re receiving numerous calls and emails from concerned constituents who don’t want to have the state -directly or indirectly- supporting a privatized union.
According to the news blog that was written in the tenor and tone of an op-ed piece, titled, Spin Control: House GOP refused to vote on home health care worker bill, written by Jim Camden and published by The Spokesman-Review:
“These emails generally went something like this: “My constituent (fill in a first name) wrote to say she/he takes care of (fill in a relative) who struggles with (fill in a debilitating condition) and he/she is concerned about how much this bill would cost them in terms of dues to the SEIU.” It’s true that under the bill, an IP would be employed by a private entity rather than through a state agency, and have the union as its bargaining unit. They would pay dues as members, or not join but pay fees that cover some services the union provides.
The cost of those dues would be described in some personal terms, like a set of tires for the pickup, and the lawmaker would then venture into some discussion of the need for transparency into alleged nefarious activity of the SEIU.”
Home care aides are the main line of defense to protect the most vulnerable population of adults in this country, but the most powerful union and legislators are keeping them pinned in the middle of a tug o’ war. While some claim increased wages and benefits are the results of union representation, forced membership dues also ultimately fill the financial coffers of the union and, ultimately, the political class it supports.