On February 8th, three of these workers testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about how forced political contributions violate their freedom and rights.
Sally Coomer: “We were required at the end of 2009 to quit our agency employment and transfer over to a system that is unionized by the SEIU, called the Individual Provider System. Caring for my daughter is not a job that requires union intervention…The thing that is very discouraging for me is every month, you know, I’m seeing close to $95 a month being taken out of the check for union dues, going to causes I do not support. For me, that $95 a month would provide an additional 9 to 10 hours of care for Becky directly…. I feel very strongly that any type of union that a person belongs to that if the union is going to take out union dues that that employee should be well-aware of what those dues are being spent for. And that, if they are using it for political purposes that they should be aware of that and they should be able to make a choice as to whether or not that that is what they want their union dues to be spent on.”
Sally Coomer, Duvall, Wash.: Sally is a homecare worker and mother of a disabled adult daughter for whom she is also the primary caregiver. She receives Medicaid funding to provide full-time care for her daughter, but by operation of current law, she has been forced to become a member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). According to Sally, new laws pushed by the union have created a twisted and complicated relationship between the state, Sally and her daughter. The law states that an independent caregiver is an employee of the client for whom he or she cares, and the state is considered the employer for collective bargaining purposes only. Sally is technically an employee of her mentally incapacitated 21-year-old daughter. This employee definition also affects Sally’s ability to secure financial stability for retirement. In her previous non-union capacity, she was able to pay into the Social Security system. This is not allowed as a unionized employee, a fact Sally calls an “unintended consequence” of the law.