A bill that drew sharp criticism from home care industry advocates in California has been vetoed by Gov. Jerry Brown (D).
Under Assembly Bill 1513, the State Department of Social Services would have been required to provide the names and phone numbers of registered home care aides to labor unions, unless aides opted out.
“Home care aides have placed their names and personal contact information on the registry for the purpose of allowing consumers and their families to determine whether an aide has undergone a criminal background check and received training,” Brown stated in an Oct. 15 letter to the Assembly. “I am concerned about now releasing the personal information of these home care aides, who joined the registry without knowing that their information would be disclosed as prescribed by this bill.”
Home care associations in the state, including the California Association for Health Services at Home and the state’s chapter of the Home Care Association of America, had opposed the measure. They characterized it as a way for labor unions like the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which backed the bill, to recruit members.
“A.B. 1513 is clearly just a labor grab, and will do nothing more than boost unions’ membership rolls and bottom line at the expense of home care aides and the frail elderly and disabled individuals they serve,” Trevor O’Neil, president of Colonial Home Care Services in Orange and co-chairman of the Home Care Association of America, California chapter, said prior to Brown’s veto. “Home care is an out-of-pocket expense, and any mandated increases to employee pay and benefits will result in higher prices for people who depend upon these services to remain in their homes.”
California is not the only state where home care workers are involved in a controversy over union representation.
In Minnesota, more than 10,000 personal care attendants recently petitioned to have their union decertified, saying that it was created through a fraudulent process after a 2014 law declared them public employees.
Written by Tim Mullaney