Pro-Union Proposals Intrude on Care Providers, Clients

03.16.2012
Issues & Policies

This week, the Labor Committee heard public testimony on SB 352 and HB 5433, which outline how certain child care workers and personal care attendants in Connecticut may unionize.

The bills are follow-ups to Executive Orders 9 and 10 which opened the door to the unionization of family child care providers who receive subsidies through the Care 4 Kids program run by the Department of Social Services, and to independent personal care attendants who also work with the state.

Businesses are opposed to SB 352 and HB 5433 because they will result in added costs and intrusive burdens for these care providers.

These proposals have the potential to undermine longstanding relationships between providers and clients by giving control of child care and personal attendant services to the state.    

They take away the commonsense freedoms and flexibility of care providers to meet the needs–and budgets–of their clients, setting up rigid government barriers in their place.   

For childcare providers, the legislation actually allows the unionization of a child’s neighbors and relatives who are caring for them in their homes. 

As small businesses, daycare and personal care companies typically operate on very thin profit margins. Business costs are high, and state funding has declined in recent years. Unionization is certain to increase costs, which will limit the ability of clients to afford, and providers to offer, services.

Many of these small businesses rely on part-time staff, independent contractors and others who work flexible hours according to their own schedules. SB 352 and HB 5433 would limit their flexibility and disregard their autonomy by requiring all workers, even independent ones, to unionize and work under similar conditions.

Card check

What’s more, the proposals implement a union “card check” procedure for union elections.

Bypassing secret-ballot elections, card check requires a simple majority of workers to sign petitions or cards to designate a particular bargaining unit. Workers lose their secret-ballot protections and likely would not get full information on the impact of an election on their working conditions and employment benefits.

SB 352 and HB 5433 ignore the fiscal, practical, and other impacts of unionization on daycare and personal care businesses—and they ignore the fact that state union card-check legislation may be pre-empted by federal law. 

For more information, contact CBIA’s Kia Murrell at 860.244.1931 or kia.murrell@cbia.com.

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