HARTFORD—“Someday very soon, people will find themselves members of an employee union they didn’t even know was coming—unless we can stop this process,” warned State Representative Rob Sampson. “They will be forced to pay dues and abide by whatever is negotiated on their behalf.” Sampson spoke in response to a meeting on Wednesday of one of the workgroup councils set up to help implement Governor Dannell Malloy’s Executives Orders #9 and #10.
“The governor’s stealthy, rapidly-developing effort has blurred the bright lines separating government, organized labor and private sector businesses,” said State Senator Joe Markley. “Rigid accountability to stakeholders affected by the push to unionize family daycare providers and personal care attendants is more crucial than ever.”
Governor Malloy’s executive orders, issued in mid-September, have drawn sharp criticism from the people they affect most: seniors and disabled residents who depend on the personal care attendants, as well as family day care providers, many of whom say they just don’t want, and can’t afford, to be in a union.
Few people, Sampson contends, realize the process is already underway. “An election allowing family daycare workers to choose which union will represent them will end soon,” he said. “I bet most people who fit that description don’t even know its happening.”
The convoluted process spelled out by Executive Order 9 has allowed SEIU to become the sole, unopposed candidate to be the negotiating Majority Representative for all family child care providers participating in the Care 4 Kids program, by obtaining authorization cards from just 20% of the “approved” list of family child care providers designated by the Dept. of Social Services. The vote is being held from Dec. 5 through the 20, and appears to guarantee SEIU will be approved, although many eligible voters may not even be aware of the election.
Some who signed the required authorization cards that take us to the next step in the process of unionization reportedly had no idea what they were signing up for.
“This whole process has been suspect,” said Markley. “What’s clear is there’s a national campaign to create more dues-paying members of SEIU. At last count, this has been attempted in fifteen states, with varying success.”
“We will remain vigilant in opposing these orders,” said Sampson. “The citizens of Connecticut lost their voice in the process when Malloy used his executive power to circumvent the legislature and resuscitate controversial proposals that didn’t make it through legislative committees last spring.
“This is only partly about unionization,” Sampson added. “I have no problems with employee unions. It’s just that if there is a movement for one, I think it should come from the people involved and not through the Governor’s overreaching the authority of his office.”
“People concerned about the governor’s grand plan have had little official opportunity to share their fears about increased costs or service cuts,” Markley said. “There has been limited attention to the subject. Even the workgroup meetings, although open to the public, are easy to miss. We encourage all residents to pay attention, because the next few weeks are critical.”
Both legislators encourage stakeholders and concerned citizens to appear at the meetings below and to stay informed as this process unfolds.
Opportunities to offer your thoughts to Gov. Malloy’s working groups, which meet at the Capitol in Room 410:
Personal Care Attendant Working Group
Dec. 21, 1 p.m.
Family Child Care Working Group
Jan. 10, 7 to 9 p.m.
Jan. 25, 2 p.m.
For information about participating in these meetings or on how to submit written testimony, contact Rep. Sampson’s office at 800-842-1423 or Sen. Markley’s office at 800-842-1421.