Senate approves expensive bill circumventing Supreme Court decision on workers’ rights

  • Sunday, February 11, 2018 9:18am
  • News

Legislation passed Friday by the Washington State Senate creates a new private entity outside of state government to pay individual provider home care workers.

But it comes at a significant cost to taxpayers, workers and transparency, said Sen. Joe Fain, who voted against the bill. After taking up the bill late Wednesday night into the early morning hours to vote down a series of amendments, the full Senate passed it by a 26-21 margin.

“Home care providers serve the critically important role of caring for some of our state’s most vulnerable citizens, most often their family members,” said Fain, R-Auburn, who serves on the Senate Health Care Committee, which reviewed the legislation. “The highest court in the country affirmed their right to decide whether or not they want to participate in a union in order to be compensated for caring for their family. That’s a choice the Legislature should not take away.”

The state Department of Health and Human Services pays wages to the state’s 35,000 care providers. Creating a private party to serve as their employer would remove their right to choose whether or not to utilize union representation, which was granted in the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court Harris vs. Quinn ruling. The change would also exempt contract negotiations from public disclosure.

Beyond the policy, state fiscal analysts also project the legislation to cost an additional $26 million per two-year budget cycle, to do the same work DSHS already manages.

“Spending tens of millions of dollars without reaching more people or offering better services is exactly the type of thing that frustrates taxpayers,” said Fain. “That money could be much better spent on providing respite care for families needing help or employment support for people with developmental disabilities who want to work but need some help.”

The bill now moves to the House of Representative for its consideration as lawmakers are on day 34 of a 60-day legislative session.

More in News

Seniors peruse pot for pain

Discussion at the Evergreen Market on Monday covers how cannabis derivatives can relieve aches and pains

Reporter file photo
Classic chrome and mighty machines

Solid Rock Cruisers host Summer Cruise-in Thursday at former Big Daddy’s site

Community embraces summer festival

Parade, entertainment and fun light up AuburnFest | PHOTOS

Williams earns Volunteer Community Service Award

The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) recently honored Brian Williams, left,… Continue reading

Skilled, imaginative artist at work

Action Tattoo still going strong after 19 years

Officials: Two rabid bats found in Auburn

Discovered on the sidewalk near the corner of B Street NE and 3rd Street NE

One Table has no clear game plan for regional homelessness

Seattle and King County’s joint task force to address the crisis still only has vague strategies

Night work set for 15th Street NE/NW and Harvey Road, SR 167 to 8th Street NE

Beginning Monday, July 30, through approximately Friday, Aug. 24, construction of the… Continue reading

Woolsey appointed new ASO executive director

Joins symphony’s new music director, Wesley Schulz

Most Read