Sonoma Co. caregivers ask Board to investigate secret union contract

NewsSeptember 21, 2009

Homecare providers spoke out in front of the Sonoma County Administration Building Tuesday morning, asking County Supervisors for help in finding out details of a secret union agreement by SEIU-UHW that could reduce their wages and benefits over the next two years.

Providers will never be shown the actual agreement between SEIU-UHW and the County, and will only be allowed to vote after sitting through a sales pitch by union officials. The agreement would reportedly allow the County to slash pay by $2 an hour just one year after the contract is ratified, and take away workers’ Kaiser health plan and replace it with a cheaper insurance scheme that healthcare advocates have called on the Attorney General to investigate

Outside the County Building, providers called for a transparent voting process in which workers are fully informed, and a neutral third party to observe the ballot count to prevent SEIU-UHW officials from manipulating the results.

For previous contracts, details were mailed to all homecare providers before a mail-ballot vote, which allowed all members to participate in the decision. Homecare workers often provide constant care for elderly or disabled consumers and most cannot find a replacement on short notice to attend a lengthy ratification meeting. The dramatic change to the voting process is the result of a hostile takeover of the local union by national SEIU officials.

Here’s another video of Sonoma County homecare providers speaking out about the secret agreement.