New Home Healthcare Scheme from Wolf Administration

Despite having his home health care executive order struck down by the Commonwealth Court last year, Gov. Wolf seems intent on funneling state money to his pals at the Service Employees International Unions (SEIU), according to a recent case filing by the Fairness Center.

The home care unionization saga began in 2015 when, shortly after assuming office, Gov. Wolf issued an executive order that would have let the SEIU and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) unionize thousands of home health care workers in Pennsylvania—and take millions of dollars in union dues each year from their paychecks.

Most of these home health care workers are taking care of a family member or loved one. This order would have wreaked havoc on the relationships between recipients and providers—while padding union pockets.

And ultimately, that’s what the unionization scheme was about: money and control.

AFSCME and SEIU contributed more than $1.5 million to Wolf’s election campaign in 2014, while spending hundreds of thousands more in independent expenditures and “SuperPAC” contributions—directly from union dues—to support his election.

After lawsuits were filed by the Fairness Center, which represents home care recipient Dave Smith and his care provider Don Lambrecht, and the Pennsylvania Homecare Association, a preliminary injunction halted enforcement of the executive order.

The Commonwealth Court later declared Wolf’s entire order illegal. Wolf appealed that ruling to the state Supreme Court, which has not yet taken up the issue.

Now, a new scheme to funnel taxpayer money is underway, and the Fairness Center recently petitioned the Commonwealth Court to stop it. From the Fairness Center’s press release (emphasis ours):

The Wolf administration and a newly formed, SEIU-created nonprofit called the Training and Education Fund entered into an agreement that new home care workers must undergo a mandatory orientation program and be introduced to a union representative.

The Wolf administration plans to give the Training and Education Fund $1.25 million to administer this program.

The Fairness Center says this is “an illegal violation of the court’s order” and that Wolf is “trying a backdoor scheme to direct more than a million dollars to a non-profit created by the very same union the court’s order blocked.”

It should come as no surprise that as part of the new “orientation program” new home care workers will be introduced to union representatives—presumably for recruitment. The Fairness Center points out that SEIU has used these training programs in other states to organize home care workers.

To recap:

  1. Gov. Wolf tries to help his campaign contributors skim dues from workers taking care of loved ones, making, on average, $20,000 a year.
  2. The court says he can’t do that.
  3. The campaign contributor (SEIU) creates a new nonprofit and the Wolf administration requires new homecare workers to take their orientation program and be introduced to a union representative.
  4. The SEIU’s new nonprofit will get $1.25 million in taxpayer funds meant for Human Services to run this program.

We said it before: For the SEIU and Wolf, this is about money and control.