Daily Signal: Lawmakers are Finally Listening to PCA SEIU Concerns
By Olivia Grady
On April 17, 2017, Kevin Mooney, an investigative reporter, was published in the Daily Signal. In his article, “Election Results Gave This Union Millions. Now State Lawmakers Are Looking Into Voter Fraud,” he details the Minnesota decertification project that the Center for Worker Freedom and its coalition allies have been helping with and the response by legislators.
The Minnesota decertification project is run by personal care assistants (PCAs), usually family members who take care of loved ones with disabilities. They receive a small Medicaid payment to help their family.
They are now trying to remove the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) as their representative because the SEIU is taking 3 percent of their pay.
The SEIU was able to start deducting dues from their pay after Governor Mark Dayton (D) signed S.F. 778 into law in May 2013, and the SEIU claimed victory in an election. In this election, less than 4,000 out of 27, 000 PCAs voted for the union, but that was the majority of voters.
The SEIU wanted to unionize these PCAs because they are receiving $4 – $5 million in dues, and Governor Dayton was willing to help because he has received donations to his campaigns from the SEIU.
However, not only is the SEIU taking dues, the Center for Worker Freedom and its coalition allies have also discovered through the decertification process fraud and harassment by the SEIU.
The PCAs need a third of all PCAs in the bargaining to sign cards asking for another election to decertify. They have more than 6,500 cards now, but the state labor relations agency is refusing to host another election.
Mooney explains in his article how state lawmakers are now involved with this project after evidence of voter fraud by the union has been brought to light.
For example, state Representative Marion O’Neill, chairman of the Subcommittee on Employee Relations, is planning on hosting a hearing to learn about how the state government allowed this union to represent these PCAs. One speaker will likely be Josh Tilsen, the head of the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services, Minnesota’s labor relations agency, whom she wrote to on March 14. Senator Michelle Benson also signed the letter. The letter reads:
These documents, and additional follow-up information we have received, indicate that your office has dismissed the decertification petition, despite your receipt of what we understand is now more than 6,300 signed PCA election authorization cards, more than the total of PCAs who actually voted on either side in the original 2014 election.
Additionally, we have been told that you have refused to disclose the original SEIU authorization cards or documents from 2014, or to investigate the possible fraudulent signatures, nonexistent voters, and ballot tampering, which correspondence and affidavits suggest may have occurred.
O’Neill has encouraged others to speak at the hearing as well.
Representative O’Neill told Mooney that she wants to see how many ballots the government agency sent out because a number of PCAs have told us that they did not receive ballots, a violation of the law.
O’Neill also said: “I want to see copies of the returned ballots. I want to see who signed them and verify that those signatures are authentic, and not fabricated and not forged.”
Mr. Mooney explains that 11 affidavits by PCAs give stories indicating that the union made PCAs members and deducted dues without the PCAs’ permission.
In addition, Representative O’Neill asked Minnesota’s legislative auditor, James Nobles, to examine the union election and the fraud allegations.
These allegations come at a time when the SEIU is asking the Subcommittee on Employee Relations, a panel of House and Senate legislators, to accept a new two-year contract with the PCAs. The contract is scheduled to take effect on July 1.
However, because the legislature is in session, the full House and Senate will have to vote to approve the contract before it can take effect. Republicans control both houses.
The early contract negotiations by the SEIU has raised red flags for the legislators and for our allies.
In addition to the decertification, Minneapolis Attorney Douglas Seaton is suing the Dayton Administration for fraud in the election and afterwards. He would like to see the 9,000 signatures that the union claims it collected. Also, if the government agency does not allow a new election, he will take the case to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. The agency hasn’t decided yet.
In the meantime, the state is appealing a Ramsey District Court decision that forced the state to give Mr. Seaton a list of the PCAs. None of the lists, however, that the state has given have been accurate.