An Appeals Court ruling on Tuesday shot holes through SEIU 775’s feeble attempt to prevent prospective home healthcare providers from hearing anything other than union propaganda during state-mandated training and meetings.
The decision, reached by the Division 2 Court of Appeals in Tacoma, allows the Freedom Foundation to know when and where such events are held in order to show up and inform attendees of their legal rights to opt out of paying union dues and fees – rights the union is paying a fortune in legal and other costs to suppress.
SEIU 775 represents around 50,000 Washington residents being compensated through Medicaid to provide home-based healthcare to loved ones. In order to be licensed by the state as a caregiver, individuals are required to take 70 hours of training, plus another 12 hours of continuing education every year.
As part of its collective bargaining agreement with the state, the union is permitted to make presentations to the attendees before, during and after this training. Eyewitness accounts describe these sessions as, at best, taxpayer-funded union recruitment rallies.
At worst, the specially trained union presenters have been reported to use intimidation tactics, deception and outright lies to entice attendees to sign a membership card.
Pursuant to a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, caregivers are no longer considered full-fledged state employees and cannot be forced to cooperate with the union in anyway. A separate court case earlier this spring further established that attendance at the union portion of provider meetings and training sessions is strictly voluntary, but the state has done little to make sure attendees know this.
The Appeals Court ruling on Tuesday reinforced what a lower court had already told the union: There is no exception to the Public Records Act under which the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services can justify withholding from the Freedom Foundation the contracting schedules.
Nor is there anything preventing the Freedom Foundation from sending representatives to these events in hopes of setting the caregivers straight.
And that’s exactly what we plan to do.
We still won’t be getting as much access to them as the union does, but we’re confident our message is stronger.
After all, we’re telling the truth. They’re not.