Home Care Workers Will Fight Trump Administration’s Latest Move to Silence Workers’ Voices

In response to a final rule issued today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prohibiting home care workers from paying their union dues directly from their Medicaid-funded paychecks, Caitlin Connolly, director of the social insurance program at the National Employment Law Project, issued the following statement:

“Today, with the announcement of a Department of Health and Human Services final rule, the Trump administration continues its attack on workers and their unions by imposing a difficult and time-consuming burden on home care workers’ exercise of their bargaining rights.

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“The administration’s regulation will now forbid certain home care workers whose services are funded by Medicaid from choosing to pay their union dues directly from their paychecks, as hundreds of thousands are doing now. Like the Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME, this latest assault on unionized public sector workers has a single goal: To silence workers’ voices.

“The new regulation has nothing to do with Medicaid spending. It is a blatant attack on workers’ ability to form a union and collectively exercise their rights. This rule goes well beyond the scope of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) authority, as it does nothing to improve the system. In fact, making it more difficult for home care workers to make union contributions can lead to worse outcomes.

“Home care workers are essential to our families and communities, yet, nationally, they make little more than $11 an hour. Most do not have benefits or paid time off and struggle with inconsistent schedules and irregular pay. The home care workers who fare best are those who have come together to form a union. Our 2017 research found that when home care workers form unions, workers see positive results, including improved training opportunities, lowered turnover, and higher pay, all of which benefit the older adults and people with disabilities receiving services.

“With 10,000 older adults turning 65 every day, demand for home care is rising. We must bolster the quality of these jobs, not lower pay and worsen working conditions. Workers who have formed unions have made our home care systems stronger, winning improvements for workers and consumers alike. The Trump administration, intent on shrinking union membership and taking away worker power, seeks to shatter the progress made by organized workers in recent years. But these workers, who have fought long and hard to advance home care, will fight back against this outrageous rule, and we stand ready to support them.”

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