In Vermont, the right to own one’s own business, in particular in home care work is coming under attack. Small business owners, and independent contractors are in the sights of a Vermont bill that will force them into a union as well as to pay union dues. CEI Labor Policy Analyst Trey Kovacs explains further over at the VT Digger:
Well, the state of Vermont believes it and its union partners know best when it comes to providing care for the elderly and disabled. Senate Bill 59, which already passed the Vermont Senate, puts elected officials and union bosses in charge of setting standards for in-home care. If enacted the bill would force the more than 6,000 home-care workers — comprised of small business owners, independent contractors and family members — to pays dues to a union whether they like it or not.
These attempts to forcibly unionized America’s home care workers is not novel to the Green Mountain State, but is a fight being played out across America:
For example, SEIU union boss Tyrone Freeman, president of a Los Angeles-area local representing 190,000 home-care workers, recently was found guilty of 14 counts of embezzlement. According to the Los Angeles Times, the low-wage caregivers also sued Freeman – who made $200,000 per year – demanding restitution of more than $1.1 million in dues money he reportedly on high-end liquor, parties and expenses from his Hawaii wedding in 2006.
Forced unionization of home-care workers in the Midwest has produced sadly similar results. In 2006, SEIU, taking advantage of Michigan law that deemed home-care providers government employees, organized a stealth campaign to unionize those workers. Its tactics produced a voter turnout of just 20 percent, and SEIU won a landslide victory. Then, from 2006 to 2013, the SEIU took in more than $34 million in union dues from those members – and provided zero in the way of tangible benefits.
In Minnesota, this very same attempt at forced unionization was plagued by so much corruption and back room dealing that even some of its former ardent supporters turned on it:
Then there’s Lisa Thompson, who until recently was vice president of an AFSCME local in Minnesota. She was working to organize licensed child-care providers similar to the effort to organize home care workers in Vermont. But according to a story by watchdog.org, which featured an interview with Thompson, she “has resigned, demanded her card check back and submitted testimony for a Monday legislative hearing” accusing union organizers of using “unethical tactics” to obtain votes.
But back in Vermont, a similar bill that would have forcibly unionized child care workers was struck down after Vermont Senate President pro-Tempore John Campbell alleged that intimidation tactics by the unions were occurring. According to the VTDigger:
Things came to a head, Campbell said, when he met with Ben Johnson, the president of the Vermont AFL-CIO. Campbell claims Johnson attempted to intimidate him by sliding a piece of paper across his desk that showed how much money the union had spent on political action committees that supported Campbell and his party and asking him to support the bill.
All of this goes on to show that when the stakes are getting a cut of a worker’s paycheck without consent, many of these unions will go to great lengths to ensure their place at the table.