Workers who provide home care to the elderly and disabled say they want to form a union, but they’ll need legislation passed to allow them to organize.
Dozens of state-subsidized personal care assistants announced their effort today at an event in St. Paul. They were joined by officials from the Service Employees International Union. Karen Urman of Mounds View, who cares for her adult son, said the profession needs a strong voice at the state Capitol.
“As home care workers, we deserve to be heard,” Urman said. “We deserve to be respected as workers, and our work deserves to be recognized as real work. Most importantly, we deserve the same right as all other workers to form a union.”
Organizers said they have not yet talked to any legislators about a bill. SEIU was involved last year in the failed unionization effort among state-subsidized child care providers. Gov. Mark Dayton tried to authorize that vote via executive order, but a judge blocked the effort in response to a lawsuit from union opponents.
Jamie Gulley, president of SEIU Health Care Minnesota, stressed that this a very different campaign.
“There is no reluctance within SEIU,” Gulley said. “This has been done in other states. We’re very, very confident.”