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

Solei Day Spa, partner bring comfort to animal shelter

Fundraiser supports 15 new dog beds to the AVHS

Dave and Cindy perfect their chili for judges at the Washington State Chili Cookoff in Moclips on Oct. 7. COURTESY PHOTO
Auburn man has a winning recipe in state chili cookoff

Husband, wife serve up great taste at competition

VRFA fire and rescue blotter | Oct. 19

Between Oct. 8 and 14, the Valley Regional Fire Authority responded to… Continue reading

Candidates for state office stake out their positions before Auburn crowd

47th and 31st Legislative districts represented at chamber-backed event

Watch your mailbox for general election ballots

King County Elections on Wednesday mailed ballots to nearly 1.3 million registered… Continue reading

Main Street Plaza laces up for ice skating rink

Auburn Downtown Association to help bring in seasonal surface; group plans other holiday events

Annual flood protection work along White River begins Oct. 15 in Pacific

Temporary barriers increase protection for the city and require seasonal closure of Pacific Park

Blessing of the Animals

People bring household pets to Holy Family Catholic Church for popular celebration in honor of St. Francis

Most Read