Last week, Freedom Foundation canvassers began knocking on doors throughout Connecticut in a campaign to inform taxpayer-compensated Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) of their constitutional right to decline union membership, dues and fees.
There are some notable differences between PCAs and other public sector workers, the largest being the absence of a common workplace[MN1] .
PCAs typically do not have a jobsite, other than the homes of those they provide care to, and their employers are the low-income, physically limited individuals they care for.
Their wages are paid through Medicaid, and their client is often a friend or family member.
The main question most people have when we describe these types of workers is, “Why do they need a union at all?”
Many PCAs ask themselves the same question.
Which explains why the response to our canvassing effort was so overwhelming. Over the course of the past week, our canvassers knocked on more than 1,000 doors and spoke with hundreds of PCAs.
As we typically find in other states, hundreds did not even realize they belonged to a union. And among those who did, a huge percentage of those we talked to understood that seven years ago the U.S. Supreme Court, in Harris v. Quinn, affirmed their rights under the First Amendment to disassociate from their union with no consequences.
One woman asked, “Are you talking about the people who take a bunch of money out of my paycheck every month?”
Her next question was how long it would take us to process her opt-out form.
Another gentleman asked for a few extra brochures to hand out to other PCAs he knows.
At another home visit, four PCA’s living together all opted-out after learning about their right to do so.
We intend to canvass thousands of more doors over the next few weeks and continue delivering the news of worker freedom to these workers even after we’ve physically left the state. Tens of thousands of mailers and e-mails are either on their way or have been delivered to mailboxes around the state. If things continue as they did last week, Connecticut is set to become a hotbed of worker freedom in the northeast as the Freedom Foundation continues its mission to expand nationwide.
[MN1]Bargaining still takes place on a regular basis. The nature of the workplace is the real difference.