Unions’ Investment Pays Off, Court OKs Wolf’s Home Care Unionization Scheme

Today, the state Supreme Court reinstated Gov. Tom Wolf’s 2015 executive order allowing more than 20,000 home care workers to be unionized. Wolf’s order was previously declared illegal and permanently enjoined by the Commonwealth Court—a decision overturned today by the Supreme Court in a 5-2 ruling.

The union benefitting from today’s ruling, the United Home Care Workers of Pennsylvania, is a partnership of SEIU and AFSCME—two of Gov. Wolf’s largest campaign donors, which together contributed more than $1.5 million to his election. Since 2013, these unions have given Wolf nearly $4 million combined.

After today’s ruling, AFSCME and SEIU now stand to gain more than $8 million per year in dues from home care workers.

“Government union leaders invested heavily in Gov. Tom Wolf’s election campaign, and, today, that investment paid off,” commented Charles Mitchell, president and CEO of the Commonwealth Foundation. “This outrageous decision will hurt both home care workers and care recipients, who are often elderly parents, sick children, or disabled relatives. Now, union rules and regulations will invade these intimate relationships at Governor Wolf’s behest for no good reason.

“It is shameful that the court has put union special interests above the well-being of thousands of Pennsylvanians like Don Lambrecht who cares for his dear friend Dave Smith, a quadriplegic who requires 24 hour care, and like Connie Euston who assists her disabled son Greg with the routines of daily life.

“How will skimming millions of dollars from home care workers’ paychecks to fund union leaders help people like these? It won’t. This is about money and politics.”

During the 2015 judicial elections, AFSCME and SEIU gave a combined $888,451 in dues and PAC money to Pennsylvanians for Judicial Reform, a SuperPAC which supported winning Democratic candidates for the state Supreme Court. Additionally, these unions gave more than $100,000 combined to Supreme Court justices.

“It is impossible to ignore the millions of dollars that have flowed from government union leaders to Gov. Wolf and members of the state Supreme Court that led to Wolf’s order and today’s ruling,” continued Mitchell. “Elected officials should be prioritizing and protecting the lives of those who need care, not treating them as political favors to be traded on a whim.

“That’s why the Commonwealth Foundation will not stop working to protect home care workers’ independence. We urge members of the General Assembly to push back against this ruling, which subverts legislative authority, and pass legislation to prevent unions from taking advantage of home care workers.”

Commonwealth Foundation experts are available for comment. Please contact Michael Torres 850-619-2737 or [email protected] to schedule an interview.

# # #

The Commonwealth Foundation transforms free-market ideas into public policies so all Pennsylvanians can flourish.