The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a rule change that would make it more difficult for public unions to automatically collect dues from individual caregivers. A recent Supreme Court ruling determined that public level employees could not be forced to join or remain in a union, thus meaning they could stop paying these dues. While this rule change within CMS would target individual caregivers (the majority of whom are family members taking care of loved ones), some are claiming it’s a direct attack on unions by the Trump Administration.
Democratic lawmakers are attempting to make this an attack on lower wage workers and them not having the same protection and advocacy without union representation. However, the issue involves the right of people to choose whether or not they want to be a part of a union. These unions have stepped in and essentially forced all Medicaid-paid caregivers to become members.
As reported by NPR in its news blog, Medicaid Officials Target Home Health Aides’ Union Dues, written by Shefali Luthra:
“A rule proposed recently by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, under the Trump administration, would prohibit home health aides who are paid directly by Medicaid from having their union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks, though it doesn’t name these fees explicitly.
Some academics who study unions say blocking these direct Medicaid payments would mean the workers — especially those who don’t work in a single, centralized office, or don’t have a credit card or a bank account — would be far less likely to pay dues, thereby potentially diminishing the union’s influence.”
While the issue is being politicized and may likely have been from its inception, it’s about people who are taking care of family and others at home being paid by the state also being forced to join a union, whether they want to or not. Home care aides often face historically low wages and with Medicaid reimbursement being cut over the past few years, it makes it difficult for many of these workers to stay above the poverty line.
However, paying additional fees in the guise of union dues is essentially forced representation and in a free society, according to advocates for this rule change, that shouldn’t be the case. While some on the political right will claim it’s a workers’ right to choose whether they wish to be represented by a union, those on the political claim this CMS proposal amounts to nothing more than protecting big business and hurting working class Americans.
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