CT Golden Years: Elder Advocates Celebrate After Forced Unionization Bills Ignored in Legislature

March 28, 2012
By

Two Southington legislators who are seeking to overturn Executive Orders issued last year by Gov. Dannel Malloy, obliging day care workers and home care aides to unionize, are happy campers – for the moment anyway.

State Rep. Rob Sampson (R-80) and Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) say they have won at least a temporary battle after the state Legislature took no action this session, thus effectively killing Senate Bill 352 and House Bill 5433, that would have legitimized Malloy’s Executive Orders #9 and #10.

Sampson said the Labor Committee’s failure to act on the bills by the legislative deadline was a victory for those opposing the unionization process affecting home care workers and day care workers who receive state funding. No action was taken on the bills in this session before the Labor Committee deadline.

In addition to the Legislature refusing to take action on the bills for the second straight year, The Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a think tank that develops and advocates free-market and private sector solutions to public policy issues is pressing a lawsuit against Malloy over the executive orders.

Rob Simmons, Chairman of Board of Directors said today that The Yankee Institute is taking the lead in providing legal counsel for the legal challenge.

Rob Simmons

The Institute’s Executive Director, Fergus Cullen, said a preliminary hearing is expected in Waterbury Superior Court within a few weeks. Cullen said there actually are two lawsuits; one involving day care workers and the other focusing on home care aides.

Both include a constitutional challenge to Malloy’s usurping a legislative responsibility, and the Institute’s position that the groups targeted by the executive orders are not subject to unionization under Connecticut’s labor laws.

Cullen also said the executive orders already have put the state on a slippery slope that could lead to forced unionization of private care providers including home care aides and possibly even doctors. Considering the ramifications of the executive orders, Cullen said, the lawsuit is designed specifically to proceed rapidly to the state Supreme Court if necessary.

Malloy’s executive orders won’t be affected by the Legislature’s inaction. It will take a ruling in the lawsuit brought by The Yankee Institute to do that.

While happy with the recent turn of events Sampson and Markley also said there is a long way to go before they can declare true victory. “We need to be diligent and watch for a future attack on our rights,” Sampson said.

“It’s clear after today that the legislature still does not have the will to follow through on this forced unionization,” he added.  “I think it’s time for the Governor to admit defeat and rescind the Executive Orders.”

After Malloy issued his executive orders the Service Employees International Union – SEIU – forced a “card check” vote on about 4,000 home care aides. The vote was conducted by mailing ballots to the workers and requiring them to send the ballots back to the union.

Of the more than 4,000 ballots only about 1,600 were returned, although the majority of those supported the SEIU – which now has begun representing all the child-care workers and home care attendants. Opposition to the orders comes from a wide range of individuals and businesses all of which would be adversely affected by the increased costs associated with unionization.

Markley said “The unionization of home day care workers and personal care attendants is a terrible idea, and an awful precedent. These hard-working people are not state employees and should not be forced into a state employee union. ”

“This isn’t the end of the fight,” Sampson said. “We are convinced that the issuance of executive orders in this instance is unconstitutional, that it skirts proper checks and balances on the administration, and that those affected are self-employed small business owners who didn’t ask for this government intrusion.”

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