Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision will harm the state’s home care workers and most vulnerable citizens

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Keith Williams, 717-515-4027 or kjw@americansforfairtreatment.org

August 21, 2018

Harrisburg, PA—Americans for Fair Treatment deplores the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision today to permit the unionization of 20,000 home health care providers in the commonwealth. At a time when the U.S. Supreme Court has historically and unequivocally defended the freedom of association of individuals through Janus v. AFSCME, Pennsylvania is instead herding government workers back into union servitude.

“This is in no way a win for home care workers or the disabled and elderly Pennsylvanians who employ them,” said Keith Williams, Pennsylvania director of Americans for Fair Treatment. “After all, it was one of these very workers who challenged Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2015 executive order unionizing the state’s home care workers. As Don Lambrecht explained, home care doesn’t conform to a rigid work rules with set hour-long and 10-minute breaks—it’s a 24-hour proposition.”

Lambrecht and his 27-year employer and friend, quadriplegic Dave Smith, filed suit in Commonwealth Court in April 2015, three months after Wolf’s executive order. They requested emergency relief against the order being enforced. In October 2016, the court invalidated Wolf’s order. Today the Pennsylvania Supreme Court overturned the Commonwealth Court’s decision, paving the way for unions SEIU and AFSCME to rake in some $8 million in union dues.

“Pennsylvanians who rely on home care also count on government subsidies like Medicaid to survive and pay caregivers,” Williams added. “Even worse, in other states where home care unionization has gone through, parent caregivers have been forced to unionize against their own disabled children. 

“Are you kidding me? In what world is it okay to for multi-million dollar national unions to pick the pockets of poor, struggling parents?”

According to the State Policy Network, unions nationally “skim” $200 million from Medicaid and $50 million from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program each year in the form of union dues. It is imperative that Pennsylvania’s home care workers understand they do not have to pay any union dues, even if the state defines them as belonging to SEIU or AFSCME. In the 2013 decisionHarris v. Quinn, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that home care workers cannot be compelled to pay dues or fees to a union. In 2018, Janus v. AFSCMEfurther outlawed the charging of non-member “agency fees” to government workers in unionized workplaces. 

AFFT Pennsylvania Director Keith Williams is available for comment on the ruling. If home care workers would like to resign from their union or ensure that union dues are not deducted from their paychecks, Americans for Fair Treatment can help with the process.  Please contact the organization at 833-969-FAIR (3247), or info@AmericansForFairTreatment.orgfor more information.