This is a summary answering the question, “What does Harris v. Quinn mean for Washington providers?”
In some cases, the state of Washington provides services to citizens using independent providers rather than state employees. The clients receiving these services have part or their entire bill paid by a government subsidy or voucher.
In recent years, unions have attempted to use the lawmaking process to inject themselves as the representative of these providers even though they are often independent businesses. The service the union provides is advising the state about the subsidy/voucher rates and the assumptions about the service expectations.
Once granted the privilege of performing this function, the unions included in the state agreements the requirement that the union receive a mandatory payment taken from each provider’s reimbursement for services.
This forced payment was challenged by home health care providers in Illinois, and the US Supreme Court just ruled that unions are not allowed to force people to pay as a condition of being a service provider. They may pay voluntarily, but if they decline to pay the “Freedom of Association” means they cannot be forced.
Who in Washington is now free to decide?
Home health care providers whose rates the state negotiates with the Service Employees Union International (SEIU) 775NW. See the contract negotiated here.
Family child care providers whose rates the state negotiates with SEIU 925. See the contract negotiated here.
Language access providers whose rates the state negotiates with the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) AFSCME Council 28. See the contract negotiated here.
Adult family home providers whose rates the state negotiates with the Washington State Residential Care Council of Adult Family Homes. See the contract negotiated here.
How can these providers get the whole amount of their rate?
Members pay dues, but nonmembers have no such obligation. So the first step would be to give a written notice to the union and to the state agency making the payment that you wish to resign membership and request an end to deductions.
Sample letter for:
If you receive correspondence from the union which suggests they will not be releasing you from these payments, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are told the latest contract for adult family home providers does not currently require payment to the union (WA State Residential Care Council) as a condition of being a provider to Medicaid clients. Negotiations could be underway to restore the forced payment through a direct deduction from the Medicaid reimburse rate.
If you wish to join or resign membership in a voluntary organization, that is always your Constitutional right. The WA Residential Care Council contact information:
John Ficker, Executive Director
523 Pear St. SE Olympia, WA 98501