Connecticut Studies Supreme Court Decision on Home Health Aides

Jul 2, 2014

Governor Dannel Malloy’s office will study the implications of a Supreme Court ruling that weakens the power of unions to organize home health care workers.

The case before the Supreme Court, Harris v Quinn, originated in Illinois, but it’s almost certain to have reverberations in Connecticut, where the issue of the unionization of personal care attendants already has some history.

The justices found that such workers can’t be counted as public employees in the true sense, because despite the fact that their wages are paid by Medicaid, they are employed in private homes. That means they can choose whether or not to pay union dues.

Home health aides in Connecticut voted two years ago to be represented by SEIU District 1199 in collective bargaining negotiations. The governor had previously supported the unionization in an executive order, and the legislature has more recently blessed the idea as a way to raise wages and improve working conditions.

The governor issued a statement saying the ruling takes the rights of the American worker backwards. Attorney General George Jepsen also said he’ll look into what effect, if any, the ruling will have on workers here.