Freedom Foundation

Nearly 900 caregivers petition Inslee to veto SEIU bill

Update 3/27/18: Since publication, the total number of IP petitions submitted to Gov. Inslee’s office from caregivers has reached at least 1,006.

With the passage of SB 6199 by the Washington State House of Representatives in a contentious vote last week, final adoption of the bill depends on Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature.

Yesterday, the Freedom Foundation and three individual provider home care aides (IPs) delivered to Inslee’s office petition cards signed by 820 caregivers urging him to do the right thing and veto the legislation. An additional 44 cards were submitted this afternoon.

As the Freedom Foundation explained in a letter accompanying the petition,

This legislation will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars by layering on costly bureaucracy to the administration of Washington’s home care program. In the process, the transition to a ‘consumer-directed employer’ will disrupt the lives of caregivers and their families for years.

Lastly, SB 6199 will turn back the clock on workers’ rights by allowing SEIU 775 to again seize 3.2 percent of caregivers’ paychecks as a condition of employment. The U.S. Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn denounced this arrangement as an unconstitutional ‘scheme.’ This bill would re-implement this ‘scheme’ by attempting to sidestep Harris on a technicality.

Passage of this legislation into law will invite years of additional litigation to protect IPs’ rights.

Given that its primary purpose appears to be to reward a politically connected special interest group, SB 6199 was only narrowly passed by a sharply divided legislature.

Please listen to the voices of the caregivers who will have their rights undermined and their lives turned upside down by this legislation. Please veto SB 6199.

Before submitting the petition, three Washington IPs, all of whom provide care to a son or daughter, spoke out against the bill at a press conference.

IP Loren Freeman of Olympia stated:

For family and other live-in providers, this bill piles many additional complications and external agendas on an already overly complex care situation… On top of that, this bill paves the way for a first-ever labor strike that would leave vulnerable individuals alone in their homes with no personal care services… We’ve been blacklisted and we’ve been shut out completely, even though we’re being required to spend as much as $1,300 a year in union dues, all for no representation whatsoever. This bill has a hidden agenda of cancelling out the protections the U.S. Supreme Court established… This bill does not serve the citizens of the state of Washington well. It certainly doesn’t serve well the needs of people who are in these vulnerable situations or their caregivers, and it only advantages certain special interests. Please veto this bill.

Tammy Shipler, a parent caregiver from Lacey, explained:

SB 6199 will force me, as a parent provider, to be employed by a private entity. I don’t need to be managed by some private company to care for my own son. This bill will also take away my constitutional right, as recognized in Harris vs. Quinn, to choose whether to support SEIU 775 with 3.2 percent of my pay. This doesn’t make any sense to me. Losing those funds will put more stress on our single income home.

And Sally Coomer of Duvall told the press:

I am opposed to this bill and the creation of a third-party administrator. I view it as a way to sidestep Harris v. Quinn… The union—the things that they represent and their political views—are completely contrary to what I believe and support, and it wasn’t until Harris v. Quinn came out that I was then able to opt out as an individual provider… We provide care for our children in our homes. I don’t need union representation. There is nothing that they can do for me. They are not going to control or support me in my workplace; it’s my home… Families who are willing to provide long-term care for their family members and their loved ones should not be forced to join a union that they disagree with and pay union dues that do nothing for them… For (SEIU) to take (union dues) out of Medicaid dollars is criminal, in my opinion… If (the governor) cares about the people of the State of Washington that are providing a critical role in the lives of these vulnerable people, he will put those people first, over favoring the union…

Before presenting the petition to the governor, the Freedom Foundation closed the press conference by pointing out that,

Throughout the legislative process there have been opportunities for lawmakers to send a clear signal that Senate Bill 6199 is a genuine, good-faith effort to improve the home care system and not a special interest giveaway to SEIU. But at every stage, the voices of caregivers in that process have been sidelined and the Legislature has rejected, largely along party lines, amendments that would protect the rights of caregivers under current law to make their own decisions about union membership… If Gov. Inslee wants to send a signal that he cares more about the public, that he cares more about taxpayers, that he cares more about caregivers and their clients than he does about special interests, then he will veto Senate Bill 6199.

Gov. Inslee has 20 days from the end of the legislative session on March 8 to sign or veto the bill.

Members of the public can contact Gov. Inslee and ask him to veto SB 6199 by completing this form.

More information about SB 6199 is available below:

Debate over SEIU bill characterized by hypocrisy, deception
Caregiver takes on SEIU on King 5
Democrats and Governor Inslee push bill that would force newly freed caregivers back into union
Bills in state legislature would force caregivers to pay union dues again