I realize that by voicing my opinion I am opening myself up to judgment and criticism. However, certain issues are important and sometimes bringing an issue to the forefront helps everyone to truly understand what is at stake.
Politics are not my forte. I have a difficult time understanding the procedures that are followed and I have never been one for political rhetoric. However, when an issue strikes home, I tend to rise to the occasion and try to figure it all out. Especially when it all sounds so odd.
Last year, after the legislature rejected a law to allow the forced unionization of personal care attendants and day care workers, Governor Malloy circumvented this decision with Executive Orders 9 & 10. Legislators are challenging the constitutionality of these orders in court. Last week, House Bill 5312 passed in the House and is now headed for the Senate floor. Although I have asked some very basic questions I have not been able to get any specific answers from my senator. Hopefully by bringing this issue to the public, we will get some answers and people’s awareness will be raised.
For the purpose of my statements, I am speaking more about the PCA issue. I have first-hand experience with this program as both of my daughters employ PCA’s to help them stay integral members of society. They are paid $12.50 per hour, most of them are college students and work part-time. Given the nature of their duties, PCAs inevitably become extended members of our family and not just employees.
PCA’s are personal care assistants. It is part of a program that allows disabled consumers to hire their own assistants to help them with basic daily living tasks. Some of these tasks are showering, getting out of bed, preparing meals, taking medications, the list goes on.
A Medicaid waiver funds this federal program and there are many requirements to allow a consumer to become part of this program.
I am concerned that if the bill is passed in the Senate and the unions take over bargaining for the PCA’s, where will the additional money come from for union dues, higher wages and health care benefits? While the bill forces unionization, it fails to pay for these added costs. I fear that these costs are going to be hoisted on our disabled consumers, many of whom have little means to pay for it.
Additionally, I do not understand how Governor Malloy could write in an Executive Order when the bill was clearly shut down by our legislators during the last session. Our legislatures are the very people put into office to be a voice for us. I know we met numerous times with Representative Candelora to give him our feelings on the issue. He listened, asked questions and then acted on our behalf.
Another important piece of this puzzle is how the union is treating people. They have been harassing PCA’s, barraging them with mail and set up an unfair practice for voting. It is very concerning to find out that if you didn’t vote, that was counted as a yes vote for the union. Additionally, if you voted incorrectly, it was also a yes vote. So this body of people voted the union in, but we really don’t know if yes was the general consensus or if most people didn’t vote or voted incorrectly.
If the union is handling the voting and rallying of people with such disrespect, how do people feel they will be treated if the Senate passes Bill 5312? House Bill 5312 slashes the safety net for our most vulnerable population. If the bill is raised in the Senate, I hope Senator Meyer stands up for our disabled population and votes No.
If you believe in our passion against this bill, please consider calling your Senator and asking them to vote no for HB 5312.