On late Friday night, State Rep. Mike Molgano voted against a controversial proposal that elderly and disabled residents say could increase the cost of employing personal care attendants while eroding their flexibility to hire people with whom they’re most comfortable.
Democrats proposed and passed a controversial Malloy administration plan that not only forces thousands of personal care attendants into unions, but also thousands of family daycare providers that accept a particular state subsidy—whether they like it or not.
The vote on the House Floors came months after Governor Malloy’s controversial Executive Orders that created separate councils and workgroups designed to review the issue and file reports on their findings.
After Executive Orders 9 and 10 had been issued, many House and Senate Republican legislators questioned the constitutional legality of the Governor’s plan.
In the beginning weeks of this year’s legislative session, the bill died in the legislature’s Labor Committee, but the majority party Democrats resuscitated it on the House floor Friday through a hidden 16-page amendment.
Some advocates for the legislation say it will lead to better training, wages and working conditions for workers in both categories.
State Rep. Mike Molgano, who represents Stamford in the General Assembly, disagreed with the legislation stating that many of those wishing to unionize are under the false impression that they would be able to collectively bargain for state benefits and pensions when in actuality the bill will only allow for the bargaining of benefits outside of the state plan. Molgano, who hires the service of personal care attendants, also worries about the possible impact the bill will have on the services that are being provided.
“We’re not only talking about the shrinking of the PCA force, we could be looking at the increase of the customer base of the state,” said Molgano. “I use Personal Care Attendants, and all the funds that I use to pay for them come out of my pocket. Under this bill, PCA’s will be receiving benefits that are pretty enticing, and these incentives will price me, and anyone else who shares my situation, right out of the competitive process. My only other choice then would be to become completely unemployed and go on state aid so I can afford to have a PCA help me through my daily life. This bill is a very scary proposition for me, and I know I’m not just speaking for myself – I’m speaking for everyone who is in my situation.”
Rep. Molgano also stated that many of the personal care or family daycare workers that he talked to were unhappy to hear that union dues may be taken from their paychecks without their support.
“In the recent months, many people who work in personal care or depend on personal care attendants came to the Capitol on a regular basis to discuss this legislation,” said Molgano. “Many of the family daycare providers who I met with say they have no desire to be in a union and expressed that the unionization effort isn’t fair to the people who rely on these personal services. I worry that this legislation will greatly interfere in the professional and personal relationships between those who are in need of service and the private worker they hire.”
People who depend on personal care assistance for everyday tasks, from bathing to grocery shopping, worry that attendants would reduce their services and hours available in order to cover the costs tied to unionization. Even worse, opponents of the proposal fear that union bureaucracy could alter the process they use to make the very personal decisions they use to choose their attendants.