Workers Sue Trump Over Union Dues
SEIU members are suing Trump after he passed a rule to make automatic dues deduction illegal for home health aides
As a part of Trump’s ongoing war against unions, Trump recently instituted a new rule that would ban unions from automatically collecting dues from Medicaid payments. This rule, known as the “Reassignment of Medicaid Provider Claims,” overturns on Obama rule from 2014 that allows states to withhold a portion of a Medicaid payment for union dues.
The intent of this change is clear. Trump wants to make it harder for unions to collect dues thus giving them less money to oppose his anti-union policies. First unions had to re-sign their members following the Janus decision and now they need to get them to set up automatic dues payments through their personal bank accounts.
The Reassignment of Medicaid Provider Claims rule was put into effect at the beginning of May and is now facing two lawsuits. The Attorney Generals of California, Washington, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Oregon have joined in a lawsuit to overturn the rule. They argue that the change would illegally hurt workers right to collective bargain in the state.
“With this rule, the Trump Administration is not only harming Medicaid skilled home care workers who have joined unions but the millions of seniors and people with disabilities who depend on these indispensable workers,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “This rule jeopardizes the health of vulnerable Californians who are currently able to live at home thanks to Medi-Cal’s IHSS program. The California Department of Justice will continue to fight to protect our workers and the families they serve.”
In the second lawsuit eight home, health aides are suing the Trump administration to stop the rule from taking effect in July. The eight aides are all members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They are planning to argue that the rule violates their first amendment right to free association and the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. They believe that since home care aides are 90% women and more than half are women of color, this rule will single out one particular group of workers without a legitimate purpose.
“This rule violates our freedom of speech by telling us how we can spend our own wages and denying us our right to choose for ourselves how we support our union,” said Virginia Grant, a home care worker from Charleston, Ill., and plaintiff in the lawsuit. “We’re not going to let this attack stop us from advocating for high-quality home care.”
The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California, the same court where the Attorney Generals lawsuit was filed.
“It’s outrageous that home care workers like me are being singled out,” said Camille Christian, a plaintiff and home care worker from Alameda, Calif. “This rule tries to prevent us from using payroll deduction for any purpose, even to contribute to our healthcare or for transportation costs or to support our union. How would you feel if the government told you how to spend your wages?”