State Spotlight: Home Care Labor Battle, Controversial Advisory Group for Aides

There were a series of home-based care updates around the country this week, including yet another major challenge to unions and the creation of a new state advisory group of home care workers.

Home care providers appeal to Supreme Court

In Minnesota, a group of home care providers are appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court in hopes of overturning a law that makes a union the bargaining agent for home care providers receiving state funds. Lead plaintiff Teri Bierman and seven others claim that a 2013 Minnesota law that makes the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) their official representatives violates their First Amendment right of free association, the Minneapolis Star Tribune Reported.

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The Minnesota development is only the latest salvo against unions and their relationships with home care workers. Legal conflict has picked up ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that public employees do not have to pay union fees to help cover the costs of collective bargaining by union groups on their behalf.

Pennsylvania Governor moves ahead with controversial plan

Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, recently re-elected Gov. Tom Wolf is moving ahead with plans to give thousands of home health care aides the ability to shape workplace policy. The governor’s office said Thursday it had appointed five members to a statewide advisory group that will meet quarterly with the state Department of Human Services and discuss “ways to improve the quality of care delivered” to people who need in-home assistance,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Oregon hospital closes hospice

In Oregon, St. Anthony Hospital is ending its hospice program because of budgetary concerns. In anticipation of the closure, the hospital has been transitioning most of the hospital hospice’s roughly 40 patients into home hospice care, according to the East Oregonian.

Written by Robert Holly

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