CT GOLDEN YEARS: Yankee Institute’s Rob Simmons Opposes Malloy’s Health Care Unionization

March 7, 2012
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Opponents of Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Executive Orders 9 and 10, issued last year in support of unionizing child-care workers and home care aides, got an extra measure of support this week when the Yankee Institute for Public Policy named former US Congressman Rob Simmons as its chairman.

The Institute unanimously approved of Simmons as the President of its Board of Directors, and also is suing Malloy over the executive orders. Those orders are alternatively defined as providing child-care workers and home-care attendants who work in state-funded programs the ability to join unions; or conversely, forcing them to unionize.

The Yankee Institute, a think tank that develops and advocates free-market and private sector solutions to public policy issues was founded in 1984 and has offices in East Hartford, Connecticut. It  is a nonpartisan research and educational organization and is classified by the IRS as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit.

Rob Simmons, Yankee Institute For Public Policy

I wrote several times last year about Malloy issuing the executive orders which circumvented the state Legislature. The Legislature had discussed the issue in last year’s session but it died due to lack of support.

In response, Malloy issued his executive orders and in conjunction with the Service Employees International Union – SEIU – forced a form of “card check” vote on about 4,000 home care aides. The vote was not held in secret; rather it was conducted by mailing ballots to the workers and requiring them to send the ballots back to the union stating whether they supported joining 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.

Foremost among the opponents are State Sen. Joseph Markley R-Southington, and Rep. Rob Sampson R-Southington, both of whom have been outspoken in their dissatisfaction with Malloy’s action. Although they held a public hearing on the issue late last year, their efforts to halt the implementation of the executive orders ran into a stone wall.

Markley said then that it probably would take legal action, a costly endeavor, to fight Malloy’s orders. Now that legal action has been taken up by the Yankee Institute.

A spokesman for Malloy was critical of the Yankee Institute and its lawsuit accord to the CTMirror website. Simmons, however, noted “we’re three and a half people!”

Malloy’s orders appear to work against widespread efforts by advocates for the elderly and disabled to move up to 5,000 Connecticut residents out of care institutions and into family or community care. Thousands of residents of Connecticut’s nursing homes or other care facilities are on Medicaid – meaning apid by state  and federal taxes – with monthly costs well above $12,000 per patient.

Advocates of returning the elderly and disabled to homes or community settings say the cost of care would be drastically lowered if their effort are successful, but that unionizing independent home care workers could reverse that trend.

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