Coalition challenges Conn. governor on labor issue

Michael P. Tremoglie Apr. 2, 2012, 7:38am

WATERBURY, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - A coalition representing consumers, filed a lawsuit March 22 in Connecticut Superior Court to oppose Gov. Dannel Malloy's executive order that turned some health care workers into state employees.

The coalition consists of private citizens, a state senator, a public policy think tank and other organizations. This order automatically classifies home health care workers and daycare workers who serve clients who receive any sort of government assistance as state employees.

The workers have this status whether they want it or not. As such, these workers also will be able to join a union and collectively bargain with the state.

Among the plaintiffs are Catherine D. Ludlum, "a taxpayer, resident and citizen of the State of Connecticut, who is also a consumer receiving services from Personal Care Attendants"; the Yankee Institute for Public Policy, a Connecticut nonprofit public policy organization; and state Sen. Joseph Markley.

All are maintaining the governor's order violates both the Connecticut and U.S. Constitutions. They also allege the order violates the National Labor Relations Act.

Legislation to do this was rejected March 21 by the state Legislature.

"It is just one more example of the (Service Employees International Union's) campaign of stealth unionization of independent contractors and self-employed people so they can collect union dues," said Vincent Vernuccio, Labor Policy Counsel for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

"You see it being done not only in Connecticut but Michigan, Minnesota and elsewhere."

Vernuccio alluded to the efforts of the SEIU across the United States to either have state legislatures pass laws that would unionize these types of workers or for a governor to issue orders similar to what Connecticut's governor did.

Meanwhile, the SEIU District 1199 announced Thursday that home care attendants voted to allow SEIU to represent them. But since they do not yet have the right to collectively bargain the vote is largely symbolic.

"Every worker in the private sector should have the right to join or not join a union," Vernuccio said.

"SEIU's ploy of stealth unionization aimed at denying workers a secret ballot brings its forced unionism agenda to a new low. It shows a union that is more concerned with collecting mandatory dues than with doing what is in the best interest of workers."

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