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Latest News - October 2012

October 30, 2012
Missouri Home Care Workers Prepare For Collective Bargaining After Decisive Legal Victory
Source: Herald Online
By: SEIU Healthcare Missouri and Kansas

In a climactic victory in their four-year struggle to improve their working conditions and strengthen the quality of care for the people they serve, 13,000 Missouri home care workers Tuesday cleared the last legal obstacle delaying negotiations on their first contract with the state.

The milestone came when the Missouri Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal to a lower court decision upholding a 2010 election in which the state's home care workers voted to form union. The ruling represents the legal end of the line for the union's opponents, who had sought to invalidate the results of the election and obstruct collective bargaining on behalf of workers who provide vital home care to the state's seniors and people with disabilities.

Home care workers perform essential services for their consumers, such as bathing, cooking, cleaning and emergency response. They're also instrumental in curtailing costs the state would incur on nursing home expenditures if home care wasn't available.

"This ruling is a huge relief to people like me who rely on home care providers to help us live independently and stay out of nursing homes," said home care consumer Edna Austin of Crystal City. "The union will give them the resources they need to improve their working conditions, reduce turnover and provide more security for consumers who hire them."

The state's home care workers won the right to form a union after Missouri voters approved the Missouri Quality Home Care Act passed 2008 by a resounding 75 percent majority. Home care workers subsequently voted to form their union, and opponents sought to stymie them in the courts.

"Since 2008, Missouri voters and Missouri in-home care providers have spoken repeatedly in favor of allowing providers to organize themselves to protect the consumers who rely on these programs and improve training and wages," said Elinor Simmons of Moline Acre. "Thousands of caregivers are vindicated today, now that the courts have upheld the validity of the democratic choice."



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