Judge Rules Against MN Governor Dayton In Union Case

St. Paul, MN- SEIU Healthcare Minnesota is under fire for stalling as a Ramsey County Court recently  ordered the Minnesota Department of Human Services to turn over a list of names of personal care attendants to a union decertification campaign.

Minnesota Personal Care Attendants (MNPCA) is a coalition of in-home care providers for disabled persons. They are working to force a new election in an attempt to decertify the SEIU which won a low turnout victory in 2014 with only 13 percent of caregivers voting for unionization. MNPCA sued three state agencies in order to get up to date contact information in order to notify caregivers about the campaign, and won.

The Center of the American Experiment estimates that 80% of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) are women caring for a family member and were unionized as “state employees” in 2014. Shortly after being unionized, the State of Minnesota and SEIU signed a collective bargaining agreement, despite all benefits under the contract being funded by Congress and the legislature under Medicaid.  Kim Crockett, Vice President of the Center of the American Experiment calls the contract a sham that is designed to hide a dues-skimming scheme by SEIU and the Dayton administration.

The Center estimates the SEIU collects about $4.7 million in dues from PCAs in Minnesota.

“This is a victory for PCAs who want to force a new election and decertify this Union,” Doug Seaton, an attorney for MNPCA told the Center of the American Experiment, “But the fight is far from over.”

Meanwhile, the Dayton administration admitted they have not been complying with a 2013 law that requires an accurate list of PCAs in the SEIU bargaining unit to be kept. This is a law which Governor Mark Dayton personally pushed for.

Ramsey County Judge Robert A. Awsumb ordered the Department of Human Services to turn over to MNPCA a list of all the names of all home care workers who have been active in the program in the last six months.

“The judge’s order acknowledged that PCAs have just as much right to this data as the union, which means MNPCA should have had a good list to work with all along,” said Crockett.

If a new contract agreement for PCAs is reached by the SEIU before being decertified, MNPCA would have to wait at least two years before trying to hold such an election again. The SEIU and the State of Minnesota announced they were working on a new contract after MNPCA started their election campaign. The current contract does not expire until June 30, 2017 and the new negotiations are well in advance of typical timeframes for such deals.

The Governor’s office also failed to follow through on a promise to a joint House and Senate committee meeting which handles state employee contracts according to the Center. The Dayton administration had promised to inform the committee of any PCA contract negotiations, but only did so after the committee’s co-chair, Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-21B) complained about the lack of notice.

The SEIU, and indeed most unions, lean heavily Democratic in their political campaign contributions. In 2016, the national SEIU donated over $1.36 million to individual congressional campaigns alone, all of it to Democrats, according to OpenSecrets.org. This includes $15,000 to Rep. Keith Ellison (CD5) and $10,029 to Rep. Rick Nolan (CD8) as well as $5,000 each to Rep. Betty McCollum (CD4) and Angie Craig (CD2.)

Anders Koskinen