Archived Story

Ballot proposal No. 4: home care workers

Published 10:07pm Thursday, October 11, 2012

Proposal 4 “mixes apples and oranges,” according to Susan Martin, chief of staff for state Rep. Matt Lori.

It amends the state constitution to establish the Michigan Quality Home Care Council and to provide collective bargaining for in-home care workers.

“We do need protection for an increasingly senior population in need of in-home care,” Martin said, “but this blew up because Rep. Lori’s committee defunded” the council in the budget last year. “Approving this takes away the ability of the Legislature to set up something which could be acceptable to a wide range of people to protect seniors in their homes. If we don’t keep them in their homes, they’re going to be a greater charge on the public purse by going into institutions for care.”

This proposal would:

• Let in-home care workers bargain collectively with the MQHCCC and continue the current exclusive representation of in-home care workers until modified in accordance with labor laws.

• Require MQHCC to provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks and provide financial services to patients to manage the cost of in-home care.

• Preserve patients’ rights to hire in-home care workers not referred from the MQHCC registry who are bargaining unit members.

• Authorize MQHCC to set minimum compensation standards and terms and conditions of employment.

Yes voters say the proposal would provide in-home care workers a constitutional right to collective bargaining.

MQHCC would provide training, background checks and a registry of in-home care workers from which elderly and disabled persons may choose to hire for daily living assistance.

Proposal 4 would protect the authority, duties and obligations of the current council to provide access to well-trained in-home care workers.

No voters say these services are already available and could force terms of employment, such as joining a union and paying dues, on 60,000 in-home care workers, who often include patient relatives.

While all in-home care workers are directly employed by the elderly and disabled persons in need of services, they would be treated as public employees for the sole purpose of unionization.

No voters also say it is unwise to stick this proposal in the constitution, as it will make it difficult in the future to update provisions to reflect changing conditions.

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