The group behind a lawsuit filed last week against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is claiming a recent push by some labor unions proves they are being unfairly benefited by his executive order.
The lawsuit from The Fairness Center, a non-profit law firm, accused Wolf, a Democrat, of purposely making it easier for unions to organize homecare workers in the state through his executive order. The Commonwealth Foundation, which is supporting the Center, notes the executive order makes in much easier to unionize homecare workers in several ways including lowering the percentage of workers needed to vote in favor of the union.
Now, it would appear the SEIU and AFSCME are capitalizing on the newfound benefits. The Foundation discovered they have joined forces in an effort to unionize homecare workers in the state by sending out a secret ballot. They will only need a small percentage, 10 percent under the executive order, of favorable votes in order to in order initiate a vote to represent every homecare worker in the state. During the election, the union will still need a majority to represent those workers.
“The fact that SEIU and AFSCME are organizing for their union right now directly contradicts these statements,” Nathan Benefield, vice president of policy analysis for the Commonwealth Foundation, said in a prepared statement to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “People like Don Lambrecht—who has cared for his friend and employer David Smith day and night for the past 25 years—are being cajoled to vote for the union.”
Wolf however claims his order is designed to help homecare workers and their patients, not to help the union organize unwilling homecare workers.
“It doesn’t allow them to organize,” Jeff Sheridan, a spokesman for Wolf, told WITF last week. “It allows them to have a voice.”
“I’m not forcing anyone to join a union, nor am I granting collective bargaining rights or making anyone a state employee,” Wolf told a few business leaders during a visit to TechShop.
As the Foundation points out, the SEIU and Wolf have many close connections. The union contributed nearly $1 million to his campaign. Additionally, Mike Brunelle, who serves as a special assistant to the governor previously worked for two years as the national campaigns director for the SEIU. Prior to working for the SEIU in Washington, D.C., he spent nearly three years as the executive director of the SEIU Pennsylvania State Council.
“This election could be held with only 10 percent of home care workers signing up, far lower than the 30 percent threshold in the current labor law,” the Foundation noted. “Moreover, the election of this exclusive representative would be conducted by the American Arbitration Association, not the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board which is the standard in all other cases.”
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment from TheDCNF.
Editor’s Note: This article originally reported that the union only needs 10 percent of the vote to represent all homecare workers, and has been updated to reflect that the union will only need 10 percent to vote for an election– but a majority to win.
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