Posted: 08/27/14 01:52, Edited: 08/27/14 01:57
by Dave Mindeman
Republicans don't like unions.
Rep. Tara Mack, (R) Apple Valley seems especially upset about the home health care providers union that was just formed via a positive union vote....
"I strongly believe in the right to free association, but the government should not use its power to make private, independent care providers into employees of the state," said Rep. Tara Mack, R-Apple Valley. "The law passed by Minnesota Democrats in 2013 gives government greater power to decide how a mother provides care for her disabled child. There are significant concerns about the conduct of this election given that barely one in 10 affected providers supported public sector unionization, but any regulations agreed to between the union and state could affect all care providers. In light of the United States Supreme Court decision from late June, I hope the Dayton administration will respect the independence of providers who do not wish to participate in this arrangement."
Hmmm...very somber tone. You would think that these independent care providers were looking at impending doom.
She seems to be insinuating that this is some kind of a government takeover. Except the State of Minnesota was already paying them. The only difference now is that they have someone to represent them in wages and working conditions. In light of the fact that they barely make a living wage, I would think that might actually be a good thing.
And I am a little puzzled that Ms. Mack wants to use some kind of 1984 analogy in that "government" will decide "how a mother provides care for her disabled child". What? It seems to me that government mandates were already a distinct possibility because although these workers are hired by the families, these particular workers are paid via Medicaid through the State. The reality of this is that a union can now intervene if these workers or the working conditions that may be regulated by the State of Minnesota are not what the workers or providers want or expect. There is now an advocate....someone with contract strength to intervene.
And then there is the election. Yes, there was a low percentage of participation....but those that voted were in the affirmative by 60%. But if that bothers Ms. Mack or the providers who didn't vote, the question has to be asked why didn't they voice there objections by a negative vote? And why didn't Ms. Mack's concern translate into encouragement to get out and cast a negative vote? Democracy works only when you participate. Apparently opponents of this union think participation is optional in all aspects.
And speaking of optional, recent court rulings seem to indicate that union dues may be optional. Which seems a little unfair in that if the union manages to increase wages or get better contracts, all of the providers will probably benefit.
If Rep. Mack wants the "independence" of providers who did not participate then I think that should also mean that they do not get any of the benefits that the union might negotiate. But I doubt that will happen.
Some of Rep. Mack's Republican colleagues sense an advantage in the possible "opt-out" provisions - because another GOP statement was issued on the same subject....
Minnesota Republican lawmakers tentatively welcomed the new union, saying it in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, it "would be the first union in Minnesota to operate under the concept of employee freedom."
This union forms (as part of the SEIU) with a number of obstacles but it does exist. If the union is able to bring needed changes for all of these workers, then I think the union will be able to whether the storm and benefit everybody.
They will have to fight for that existence every step of the way, but it is still a major step forward for unions in Minnesota. Maybe the tide has turned.