Congress Must End Union Dues Skimming of Family Caregivers’ Paychecks

Nearly everyone agrees that Medicaid has serious issues, but many would also agree parts of Medicaid serve a useful purpose, like providing resources to personal caregivers who care for an elderly or disabled person. In most cases, the caregiver is a relative of a person they care for. This system has many benefits, like personalized care, and an already strong and trustful relationship. However, this system which helps family deal with an already difficult situation is being exploited by big labor to enrich the pockets of unions.

Labor unions in a number of states like Minnesota, Washington, and 11 others have been able to siphon a share of caregivers’ income by forcing them into one collective group. This happens because lawmakers in those states have enacted policies that classify the caregivers as public employees and allow their union to skim their paycheck for union dues without the consent of the caregiver.

Our friends at the State Policy Network (SPN) have spearheaded this issue and are working closely with caregivers who have involuntarily joined the system. Through their research, SPN estimates unions skim $200 million each year from Medicaid funds destined for patients through personal caregivers’ paychecks.

Even though the Supreme Court has ruled that unions could not force caregivers to pay union dues, state governments have crafted “confusing rules that trap caregivers in the dues skim.” Caregivers in California, for example, only have a 10-day opt-out period each year, and caregivers in Washington have the dues automatically withdrawn unless they state in writing that they wish to opt-out of being a dues-paying member. Unfortunately, these are just two examples of the many convoluted methods these unions are willing to adopt.

Thankfully, many caregivers have begun to stand up for their rights and have demanded Congressional action to end this corrupt, unethical, and despicable practice. Just last month, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington announced her plans to introduce legislation that would end this process once and for all. Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers should know she has the support of 9 in 10 Americans who want the federal government to put a stop to dues skimming.

Ensuring Medicaid dollars are spent in a responsible manner and not to advance political motives should be common sense. But most importantly, this is an issue about protecting caregivers looking after their handicapped loved ones. Everyone should agree that hard working caregivers who make unbelievable sacrifices deserve to have a full paycheck.