Minnesota PCAs Vote for Union Representation
Personal care assistants who provide consumer-directed home care in Minnesota voted in favor of representation by Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on August 26.
PCAs and consumers announced the results of the election at the Minnesota State Fair, the largest state fair in the country.
Of the 5,849 PCAs who chose to take part in the election, more than 60 percent (pdf) voted to join the union, according to the state Bureau of Mediation Services, which validated the results.
SEIU Healthcare Minnesota will now be able to collectively bargain on behalf of the state’s 27,000 PCAs for better wages and benefits, which in turn will strengthen their ability to provide quality care for tens of thousands of home care consumers, advocates say.
“The high turnover in this field, from the low pay and lack of benefits, causes turmoil for families,” said Nikki Villavicencio, a home care consumer, in an SEIU press release. “When we undervalue the workers, we undervalue families like mine.”
Sumer Spika, a home care worker, said, “Despite every obstacle put in our way, we stuck to our promise to keep fighting until we were able to exercise our democratic right to let home care workers decide for themselves whether to form a union.”
On August 20, a federal judge dismissed a legal challenge to the union vote, saying that it was filed prematurely. The judge did not rule out the possibility of lawsuits challenging the union after the election results were tabulated, however.
— by Matthew Ozga