SEIU Challenges Trump Ban on Payroll Deductions for Home Care Workers

Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg Editor, Press Associates Union News

The Service Employees will legally challenge what they term a “racist” Trump administration ban on payroll deductions approved by home care workers, most of them African-American women and Latinas.

The ban, announced May 1 by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS) – which is headed by an acolyte of GOP Vice President Mike Pence – says there may be no deductions from the workers’ paychecks for “third parties.”

That means home care workers, whether covered by union contracts or working for other employers, won’t have dues or anything else – from bus pass subsidies to health insurance premiums -- deducted, as of July 1.

The ban would affect thousands of workers, notably those SEIU and other unions organized among the nation’s 800,000-plus home care workers. The home care workers are already among the lowest-paid workers in the U.S., but unionized home care workers earn substantially more.

“Trump administration to home care workers: Here’s your poverty-level wage. Now let us tell you how to spend it,” the union headlined its announcement of their planned lawsuit against Trump’s CMMS and its anti-deductions rule.

“Women who care for seniors and people with disabilities will challenge Trump administration’s racist rule in court and defend their choice to stick together in their union,” SEIU added.

“The rule wrongly targets independent provider home care workers who, without a union, are faced with a physically and emotionally demanding job with a median wage of just $10.49 an hour, no healthcare, no paid sick time and no benefits,” the union said.

The Trump administration’s CMMS rule never mentions the words “union” or “dues” or “checkoff,” a reading of it shows. It just says the workers cannot authorize diverting part of their paychecks to unnamed “third parties.” CMMS said it received several thousand comments on the rule, but didn’t characterize them or recognize opposition from workers and unions.

SEIU says that “diversion” is just a right-wing dodge.

“The rule is the latest strategic attempt by anti-worker special interest groups to silence the growing number of women in the home care workforce and deny them the ability to choose to support their union with their wages” just as other unionists do. “Its intent is to undermine working women’s right to advocate for better training, higher wages, and basic benefits — which are all crucial to ensuring quality home care for millions of Americans.”

“SEIU members plan to challenge this racist rule in court. Ninety percent of home care workers are women, more than 50% are women of color and one in four are immigrants. The administration’s attempt to silence home care workers reflects a long history in the United States of double-standard policies that deny working people of color like home care workers and domestic workers basic legal protections and rights, including protections for minimum wage and overtime pay, and the right to organize and form strong unions.”   

***

test

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

More ...

There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work