Elections aren’t cheap. Neither are bribes. The money has to come from somewhere. And “somewhere” is often places that even the politicians of the old gangland Chicago wouldn’t have touched.
But SEIU and its Democratic allies will do things that Al Capone would have the drawn the line at. And it’s up to the Supreme Court to stand up for the family members of the disabled that they are robbing with their “fair share” demands.
The politically powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has pocketed more than $50 million from home healthcare workers forced to pay union dues by two Democratic governors in Illinois, according to new study.
Documents obtained by the Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) revealed that the union received $52 million from home healthcare workers, including many people caring for physically disabled relatives, between 2008 and 2013.
“The SEIU has been taking in the neighborhood of $10 million per year off of the rehab unit,” said IPI labor expert Paul Kersey. “These are 20,000 people who take care of disabled relatives and patients and they weren’t able to prevent themselves from being unionized.”
These workers are known as personal assistants or rehab workers. They care for physically disabled patients who receive Medicaid money to pay for at-home care. While many of the homecare workers are related to their patients, Democratic Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn declared them state employees beginning in 2003.
A separate group of home healthcare workers, who provide care for patients and relatives with mental disabilities, are now challenging that policy before the Supreme Court after multiple unionization attempts by SEIU. Kersey said the latter group is trying to avoid the same fate as the personal assistants.
“The dues are a guaranteed benefit for the union, rather than a benefit to the homecare worker,” he said.
The SEIU received exclusive representation rights over the state’s 20,475 personal assistants in 2003 without holding a union election.
The union launched an aggressive card check election and presented the state with 10,627 cards authorizing union representation. Nearly 90 percent of those signatures came from existing union members, while only 10 percent of the at-home caregivers assented to SEIU organization attempts.
That means that 90 percent of the previously non-union caregivers either voted no or abstained from signing a card, according to Kersey.
Mainstream media coverage on the issue is carefully avoiding the “family member” part of the story because it makes it impossible to deny what Quinn and the SEIU have done here. The Chicago Sun Times did an entire article on the case without ever mentioning the word “family”, but while throwing in every single possible pro-SEIU argument it could find.
Susie Watts, a Chicago-area mother who cares for a disabled 27-year-old daughter at home, is glad to have the support but sees no need for a union.
“Nothing could be more meaningful for me than caring for her at home,” she said. “But I didn’t have any choice about this union. I don’t need it, and there is no opting out.”
However, Keith Kelleher, president of the SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, said the union had helped improve the lives of employees as well as those who are cared for at home. “This saves the government billions of dollars over institutions,” he said. “We don’t want to go back to the old days.”
Yes, the bad old days, when Keith couldn’t steal money from disabled family members to cover his salary and pay forward to political allies.
Harris’ son, Josh, has a rare genetic condition, Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, and spends most of his days in a wheelchair. He lives at home with Harris, who is his primary care giver.
Harris fought hard to stop Service Employees International Union from squeezing some of her son’s Social Security money out of her family.
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday on whether the forced unionization of families like Harris’ is legal.
Even Al Capone would have been sickened by Keith Kelleher.