Politics

Proposal 4 would give home health care workers collective bargaining rights

The Service Employees International Union and a group of faith leaders are backing the Nov. 6 ballot’s Proposal 4, which would give home health care providers some collective bargaining rights.

The proposal, if passed, would “allow in-home care workers to bargain collectively with the Michigan Quality Home Care Council,” an agency which would be established under the amendment.

The MQHCC would re-establish a registry of home care providers that connects them with health care recipients.

Previously, the now-defunct Michigan Quality Community Care Council ran the registry. Last year, legislation signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder defunded the council and with it, the registry.

Snyder and home care workers have been in conflict since he took office.

Starting in 2006 after negotiations, home care workers listed under the council’s registry were all represented by the SEIU, with the council listed as each worker’s employer.

After the Republican-led state legislature defunded the council last year in an attempt to prevent “forced unionization,” union dues were still deducted from the paychecks of home care workers. In response, they passed legislation keeping home care workers from being called public employees, meaning the SEIU could no longer represent them.

The law was challenged in court by the SEIU, and a judge ruled that the dues could still be collected until their contract with the SEIU expires in February 2013.

The proposal would re-instate the collective bargaining rights the workers previously had as public employees.

In addition to allowing home care workers to unionize as public employees, the proposal would set the guidelines that the MQHCC would have to abide by.

The MQHCC would have to “provide training” for the workers and financial help for patients dealing with the costs of in-home care.

It would also “preserve patients’ rights to hire in-home care workers who are not referred from the MQHCC registry.”

Snyder, in a statement released last week, reaffirmed his opposition to the proposal.

“This proposal does little to help those in our state who need home health care, and it certainly doesn’t help our dedicated healthcare providers,” Snyder said.

The proposal was pushed for by the SEIU and the political committee Keep Home Care Safe.

“The … proposal is supported by senior and disability rights advocates across Michigan, because it will give our loved ones better access to safe, quality home care,” the group says on its website.
Proposal 4 is also supported by the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition and a group of Michigan faith leaders.

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