A union-affiliated Milwaukee County board member targeted a health care organization opposed to his new living wage law Tuesday, according to the Wisconsin Reporter.
County Supervisor David Bowen demanded a county audit of Supportive Homecare Options Inc. after the owner of the home care group publicly opposed the plan to create a living wage Thursday.
Bowen has been working with officials from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to promote and implement a living wage within the county.
Additionally, Bowen has received campaign contributions and political endorsements from the SEIU and its locally affiliated group Wisconsin Jobs Now.
Supportive Homecare Options owner Sally Sprenger explained in a statement released to the Wisconsin Reporter that much of her opposition to the living wage stems from the potential negative impact it will have on her business. She claims that the added costs a living wage would bring could risk 1,200 jobs in her company.
Sprenger has already been at odds with the SEIU for holding firm against their demand that she require all her employees to join the union during recent labor talks.
Sprenger told the Wisconsin Reporter that when the negotiations first began she was offered a deal by Bonnie Strauss, staff director at SEIU Healthcare Wisconsin, that if she required her employees to join the union she wouldn’t have to pay her employees a living wage.
Indeed, Bowen’s living wage law includes a provision that would have allowed for that option.
“They are doing this for political retribution,” Milwaukee County Supervisor Deanna Alexander told the Wisconsin Reporter. Sprenger “is being targeted for her conservative, pro-business, pro-liberty views and for being vocal about them.”
Members of the SEIU claim that the audit is necessary to make sure Sprenger isn’t using money from employees to pay for her own legal fees incurred from collective bargaining talks.
Maria Ledger, director of the county agency, tells the Wisconsin Reporter that in fact there is nothing illegal about using management fees to pay for the company’s legal expenses.
Supportive Homecare Options is a private firm that contracts with the Milwaukee County Department of Family Care.
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