Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Court Upholds Home Car Workers Right to Unionize

The right of home based child care and home health care workers to collective bargaining was upheld this week by the Connecticut Appellate Court when a three-judge panel ruled that lawsuits by a pro- corporate group, We the People Connecticut Inc., and by two Republican legislators, were moot.

The lawsuit charged that Gov Malloy overstepped his authority when he issued an executive order allowing the home care workers to organize in 2011. The State legislature passed a law in 2012 affirming the right of the workers to unionize.

For the 4,300 licensed and family, friend, neighbor home based child care providers and the 7,000 home health care providers, the right to form a union has meant a greatly improved quality of life. Both groups of workers negotiated and signed their first contracts this year.

Nearly all of the Care 4 Kids family child care providers are women, mostly in the large cities of the state. The unlicensed family, friends and neighbor providers have been paid $2.23 an hour, a third of Connecticut's 2012 minimum wage. Under their first contract, they won a 29% increase in the first year and will be linked to the actual minimum wage. 
Licensed providers will get an 8.25% increase the first year. These providers receive about $145 a week per child, but have to spend much more on their daycare homes.

Opposition to the right of these workers to unionize came from the right-wing Americans for Prosperity and the Yankee Institute, but the workers convinced the Legislature to vote in favor of the right to collective bargaining.

Nationally, the Harris V Quinn lawsuit brought by the Right to Work Foundation currently before the U.S. Supreme Court could devastate unions by outlawing agency shop for home care and other workers.
The Connecticut ruling came days after Gov Malloy won the Democratic nomination for re-election, while Republicans nominated Tom Foley for governor.

Home care workers remember that under a Republican Governor they had been unable to win the right to collective bargaining.

Connecticut Attorney General George Jepson said that Governor Malloy's executive order was lawful and appropriate

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