The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) dealt what could be a potentially devastating blow to unions that had been including home health care providers in their memberships. A new regulatory change enacted by CMS now stipulates that union dues can no longer be automatically withdrawn or deducted (paid) from a health care workers paycheck if the money is being paid directly through Medicaid.
Currently, approximately 8,500 home care attendants in Connecticut alone are working under the state’s self-directed care model. These 8,500 personal care attendants also belong to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and adding them to the union was a long and difficult fight and now, instead of being able to automatically deduct membership dues from their paychecks, these unions will be required to seek out those fees directly.
As noted by the Yankee Institute for Public Policy in the blog, Federal Government Blocks Union Dues Deduction from Home Healthcare Workers’ Paychecks, written by Marc E. Fitch:
“Unions representing self-directed care home health aides will now be responsible for ensuring a member has paid their monthly dues by check or convince the member to allow automatic deductions from their bank accounts.
The change is expected to take place within 60 days, affecting 350,000 workers across the country.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) estimates that unions take in about $71 million per year in Medicaid funds from 13 states, including Connecticut.
Under a 2014 regulatory change instituted by President Barack Obama’s administration, the federal government allowed paycheck deductions for insurance, skills training and other benefits, but unions used the provision to allow for dues deductions as well.”
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has estimated that these unions rake in approximately $71 million every year from paychecks funded entirely by Medicaid. These unions represent home health care providers (many of whom are family members) in 13 states.
Unions were allowed to automatically deduct from these paychecks because of a regulatory change instituted by President Obama’s administration in 2014. Initially intended for insurance deductions, unions managed to use the provision to deduct membership dues as well.
Under this new rule change, any home care provider who is not working for an agency and who are paid by Medicaid will no longer have union membership dues automatically deducted from their paycheck, which means unions are going to have to require them to pay directly, either setting up an automatic ACH withdrawal from their bank account, a check, or credit card payment. This does not guarantee all of those workers who have been brought into the union membership fold will pay those dues. It also means these unions will have to take extra steps to collect those dues.