Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Letter From A Mother About the Folly of Unionizing Home Care Providing

Dear merle, First things first -- thank you! Please allow me to tell you what your support of the National Right to Work Foundation has meant to me. My story begins with a knock on my door one beautiful Sunday morning. There on my porch stood two strangers who identified themselves as Service Employees International Union (SEIU) organizers. One was from California and the other from somewhere on the East Coast. But they were here in Illinois to tell me some "great news." They said Illinois Governor Pat Quinn had recently signed an Executive Order allowing me and other personal care providers to join a union. I was confused, because I wasn't an employee. I was a stay-at-home mom taking care of my disabled son. It turns out Governor Quinn's Executive Order reclassified personal care providers like me as state employees just so we could be subject to unionization. You see, I care for my adult son Josh who has Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, a rare genetic condition that requires 24/7 attention, and the state provides a monthly stipend to Josh so I can be his caregiver. I didn't understand why Governor Quinn would want me in a union. I'm just a mother caring for her son. Then I saw Governor Quinn on the local news standing at a podium with SEIU banners behind him and union officials in purple jackets flanked left and right. He was thanking them for their staunch support and get-out-the-vote efforts aiding his re-election. Then I understood. This was about politics, not helping me care for Josh. And I suddenly felt like David against Goliath. I have a hard enough time making ends meet. What would I do if the SEIU were allowed to take dues or fees out of the money Josh needs for his care? How could I, just one mom, stand against the Governor of my state and one of the most aggressive and powerful unions in the country? That night, after I put Josh to bed, I logged on to the internet to try to figure out exactly what was happening and what I could do about it. There online I found the National Right to Work Foundation. It was an answer to my prayers. I contacted the Foundation, and Bill Messenger, one of the Foundation's staff attorneys, patiently and clearly explained my rights, including my right to vote against unionization. This was the first time I was told that I had any other option than to join the union. And from talking with some other folks I knew who took care of disabled family members, I realized I wasn't alone. So after compiling all the information I could from the Foundation's website, I cobbled together a few spare dollars and printed my own two-sided flyers to inform other personal care providers of their right to vote against unionization. That night I stayed up into the wee hours with my daughter and my elderly father creating labels and adding stamps. It was hard work, but it was worth it. I didn't want union bosses getting in the way of my care for Josh. When the election occurred in October 2009, I knew that hard work had paid off. Personal care providers -- many of whom are taking care of their own family members -- overwhelmingly voted against unionization. Despite the resounding election results, Governor Quinn refused to rescind his Executive Order. In fact, unless his order is rescinded, SEIU organizers are actually authorized to keep coming back to my house and badgering me until I give in. And people like me, people who care for our sons and daughters with disabilities, are already carrying a heavy load. Around-the-clock care is rewarding, but exhausting. I didn't know if we could fight off aggressive, unrelenting unionization campaigns forever. I also knew that some others in a similar situation were already subject to having union dues stripped from them. In fact, another group of in-home care providers had been corralled into unionization by former Governor Rod Blagojevich. I talked to Susie Watts, one of those providers, and she explained that the SEIU siphons off $30 every two weeks from her daughter Libby's stipend. That's over $700 a year that's supposed to go to Libby's care. I was outraged by the injustice and wanted to know how to stave off the SEIU permanently -- and what we could do for homecare providers like Susie. So I again turned to the Right to Work Foundation attorneys, who filed a lawsuit for us. Four years later, on January 21, 2014, our case was heard at the United States Supreme Court. And I will always be grateful to the National Right to Work Foundation for taking us there. You see, when I was first doing research, I called 40 or 50 law firms to find someone to help me fight this injustice. No one would. No one else had the courage to stand up and help parents and their sons and daughters with significant disabilities. Not only did the National Right to Work Foundation provide us with free legal aid and take our fight to the highest court in the land, they helped guide us through the firestorm of media attention that someone like me just isn't used to. I know that the Foundation's legal aid program wouldn't be possible without the support of generous people like you. While the Supreme Court is weighing the arguments in our case, the Foundation continues to fight for other victims of forced unionism, like Josh and Libby, in over 200 active cases. And they take cases no one else will touch -- just like mine -- and win important legal precedents that protect every American from being forced to support a union they simply don't want. That's why I'm writing you today. First, to thank you for standing with me in my fight to care for my son. And second, to ask you to continue your support of the National Right to Work Foundation. Please consider making a generous tax-deductible contribution today of whatever you can afford to the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation to support the amazing and important work they do for people like me. I never thought I'd be writing a letter like this one. And I wish I could thank you in person for enabling me to carry on this fight for my son Josh, for Susie's daughter Libby and for thousands of affected families in Illinois and throughout the country. I'll be forever grateful. Sincerely, Pam Harris P.S. SEIU officials want to take a chunk of the money I use to care for my disabled son Josh. Your continued support enables the Right to Work Foundation to provide free legal aid to victims of compulsory unionism schemes. I hope you can help the Foundation by making your most generous tax-deductible contribution of $15, $10 or $5 today. I am grateful for your support of the Foundation. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in nearly 200 cases nationwide. The Foundation's mailing address is 8001 Braddock Road, Springfield, Virginia 22160. Its web address is To help the National Right to Work Foundation grow; please forward this to a friend. Click here to Reply, Reply to all, or Forward - Challenge Your Brain Challenge your brain with Lumosity, the personal tr

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