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UPDATE: Collective Bargaining for PCAs Approved in Connecticut House Bill

April 25, 2012

Connecticut State Capitol building in Hartford

The Connecticut House approved a bill on April 20 that would give collective bargaining rights to a newly formed union of personal care attendants (PCAs).

The union, which formed last month, is comprised of PCAs who provide Medicaid-funded services and supports to elders and people with disabilities. The PCAs are employed by individual consumers but are paid by the state.

The bargaining-rights legislation passed the House by a vote of 84 to 57 as an amendment to a broader labor bill. If passed by the State Senate, it is expected to be signed by Governor Dannel Malloy (D), a vocal supporter of collective bargaining rights for PCAs.

Currently, the PCA union only has “meet and confer” status, meaning its members can meet with a newly formed Workforce Council to discuss ways to improve working conditions in Connecticut’s home care programs.

Bargaining Would Give Common Voice to PCAs

Collective bargaining would be a huge step forward for PCAs, supporters of the House bill say.

Marjorie Davis, a PCA from Hartford, told the Connecticut Mirror that PCAs are “a very discounted group of workers,” and that the ability to collectively bargain would represent “cohesion [through] a common voice.”

Supporters also said that collective bargaining rights are essential to help PCAs fight for better wages and adequate benefits — which, in turn, will result in better care for elders and people with disabilities in Connecticut.

“Granting workers a voice will, in the long run, improve their lives and the lives of the people they serve,” said State Representative Zeke Zalaski (D), the co-sponsor of the bargaining-rights bill, shortly before the House voted on it.

— by Matthew Ozga

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