In July, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an Illinois "scheme" by which individual home health care providers had union dues automatically deducted from their state Medicaid reimbursement payments.
In its decision in Harris v. Quinn, the court reasoned that the compulsory payments violated the providers' First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association. As a result of the decision, Illinois providers who resign/never sign up for union membership no longer have to pay any dues to the union.
Legally, family child care providers in Washington are in a situation very similar to providers in Illinois. Since 2002, the state has automatically deducted union dues from providers' Working Connections reimbursement checks on behalf of SEIU Local 925. All family child care providers in the state fall under the terms of the contract the union negotiates with the state every two years.
However, because of the court's decision in Harris, SEIU Local 925 is now permitting family child care providers to stop paying union dues if they request to.
Many family child care providers may not even realize they are paying dues to SEIU Local 925. Under state law, even union-represented providers who have never signed up for union membership are governed by the union contract and have full dues automatically deducted from their reimbursement checks.
Family Child Care Provider FAQs:
What do I have to do in order to get the SEIU to stop deducting dues from my reimbursement checks?
Family child care providers who wish to opt out of paying dues to support SEIU 925 simply have to complete this letter and mail it to the union.
Will I still be able to serve Working Connections clients and receive state reimbursements if I opt-out of SEIU 925 dues?
Yes. Under state law, the union contract for family child care providers is binding on all providers in the state, regardless of whether they want to be union represented and regardless of whether they choose to pay union dues. Opting out of paying dues will in no way affect your ability to accept state-paid clients.
How much are SEIU Local 925 dues?
According to federal filings, union dues are 1.7 percent of providers' monthly reimbursements.
If I stop paying dues to the union, will I still fall under the terms of the contract negotiated with the state?
Yes. SEIU Local 925 has arranged to be the "exclusive bargaining representative" for all family child care providers in the state, meaning that it is impossible for providers to get out of the terms of the contract, even if they cease paying dues.
If I stop paying dues, will I still be able to receive scholarships and incentives for family child care related training and education?
Yes. Under the state's contract with the union, training and education scholarships, reimbursements and incentives are available to all providers, regardless of union membership status.
Can I vote on the union contract if I resign my membership in SEIU Local 925 and stop paying dues?
No. Although the terms of the contract the union negotiates with the state will still apply to you, you will not be able to participate in contract ratification votes.
If I resign from the union and stop paying dues, will I still be able to obtain health insurance through the SEIU Healthcare NW Benefits Trust?
Yes. According to its website, the trust is "a nonprofit entity that operates independently of SEIU and participating employers." As a family child care provider, you are still eligible to purchase insurance through the trust, even if you no longer pay union dues to SEIU Local 925.
What kind of activity/expenses do I support through my SEIU 925 dues?
Each year, the union must file reports with the U.S. Department of Labor documenting its expenditures.
- According to these reports, in just the past two years, the local union alone has spent over $1.3 million in providers' dues money on controversial political activity and contributions to ideological organizations.
- Likewise, the union's national headquarters, which SEIU 925 members also pay dues to support, spent heavily on divisive candidates and causes, including $100,000 spent on President Obama's inauguration and $50,000 contributed to Planned Parenthood.
- Last year, SEIU national president Mary Kay Henry received total compensation of $295,870.
SEIU Local 925's complete 2013 LM-2 form is available here.
SEIU Local 925's complete 2012 LM-2 form is available here.
SEIU's National 2013 LM-2 form part one is available here.
SEIU's National 2013 LM-2 form part two is available here.
SEIU's National 2013 LM-2 form part three is available here.