UPDATE: Connecticut Personal Care Attendants Form Union
Personal care attendants (PCAs) employed through Connecticut’s Medicaid waiver program voted to form a union via a secret ballot, the results of which were announced March 29.
Ballots were sent to 6,700 PCAs. The vote was 1,228 to 365 in favor of forming a union, which will be a division of SEIU.
The union — which will be named Connecticut Home Care United — currently has “meet and confer” status, meaning its members can meet with the newly created Workforce Council to discuss ways to improve working conditions in the state’s home care programs.
Legislation that would have given home care workers the right to bargain for a contract died after it did not receive a vote in the state legislature’s labor committee. The bill -– proposed by Governor Dannel Malloy (D) -– could, however, still be revived later in this legislative session, which ends in May.
Months in the Making
Connecticut Home Care United is the first-ever union for Connecticut PCAs, who provide Medicaid-funded services and supports. PCAs receive their wages through the state but are individually employed by individual consumers, who hire them through a state-maintained registry.
The unionization of PCAs has been months in the making. Malloy originally opened the door to PCA unionization through an executive order issued in September.
“No one should be surprised that I believe people who care for others need to earn decent wages and earn respectable benefits,” Malloy said at the time. Malloy’s mother worked for years as a public health nurse.
— by Matthew Ozga