Appeals court sides with home care workers’ union – again

Minnesota PCAs who worked Monday – on MLK Day – received holiday pay for the first time, thanks to a new provision in their union contract with the state.

A day later, home care workers received more good news. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled against a group seeking to roll back holiday pay and other gains workers and their clients have made through collective bargaining by decertifying their union.

Corey Van Denburgh, a home care worker from Anoka, said he was relieved the court decision would preserve advances made since workers organized in 2014.

“We’ve won sick pay for the first time, raised the wage floor by $3 per hour, won free access to trainings, won over $150,000 in back-pay awards for workers who were underpaid, built an online matching registry to help home clients find the workers they need and established time-and-a-half pay for holidays, among other gains,” Van Denburgh said. “Through these accomplishments, we are finally beginning to address the severe care crisis in our state, which has only been getting worse for years because of the low pay and lack of benefits provided for this important work.”

It was the latest legal setback for MNPCA, an anti-union group that petitioned the state Bureau of Mediation Services in December 2016 for a decertification election. But MNPCA fell far short of collecting signatures from 30 percent of home care workers represented by the union – the threshold necessary to trigger a vote, according to state law.

When the BMS rejected its decertification petition, MNPCA sued. In Tuesday’s ruling, a panel of three Appeals Court judges upheld the BMS’s decision.

Still, it’s unlikely to be the last legal Hail Mary for the well-funded MNPCA, which has ties to right-wing legal funds and shadowy think tanks like the Center of the American Experiment. MNPCA has been pestering home care workers’ union, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, with lawsuits since before workers voted to organize.

Van Denburgh, a vice president of his union, called MNPCA’s efforts a “tragic misuse of time and energy.”

“As home care workers and people who receive home care services, we resolved to never let these extremist attacks stop us from making progress for the people of Minnesota, nearly every one of which will need home care services at some point in our lives,” he said.

“Whether Democrat or Republican, we all have been or will be impacted by the shortage of caregivers because of low pay and lack of benefits, so I hope we can put these divisive court cases and anti-union attack campaigns behind us. Let’s come together to make sure every Minnesotan can get safe, quality care and stay in their home with their loved ones.”


  1. Lorinda E. garcia says:

    It is so wonderful to see the word “UNION” again after all these years. The argument that large companies could not afford to let the workers have a union was always wondered about. Thanks to the Union Stewards for fighting for the people. It needs to come back to the west coast workers for the people.

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