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Plan to unionize in-home health workers in Minnesota announced

Posted by: Jim Ragsdale under Gov. Mark Dayton, Minnesota legislature Updated: December 12, 2012 - 3:04 PM
One of the state’s largest unions will be approaching the all-DFL government for the authority to unionize thousands of in-home personal care assistants – the people who care for elderly and disasbled people in their homes.
The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, was one of the unions that sought last year to organize in-home child care workers. That effort failed, after running into opposition from the Republican-controlled Legisalture and the courts.
The DFL won control of both houses of the Legislature last month and will take control when the 2013 Legislature convenes on Jan. 8.
Personal care assistants and other support workers plan to announce the plan in St. Paul today. They would need a state law to allow them to organize under the state’s public-employee bargaining act for the purpose of negotiating wages with the state.
With a DFL Legislature and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton, they could find a friendlier reception.
This year’s effort could affect thousands of care workers. It would not apply to those directly employed by agencies, who already have the right to organize unions; rather, it would cover those in the so-called “self-directed” program, in which the workers are hired and fired by the person receiving the care.
The program is funded by Medicaid and rates are set by the state.
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