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Missouri – Home Care Providers Win Historic Victory

In a landmark ruling in May, the Missouri Court of Appeals ordered the state to certify an election for 13,000 home care workers who had voted overwhelmingly two years ago to be represented by their own union.

That union, the Missouri Home Care Union, is a partnership between Council 72 and the Service Employees International Union.

“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 home care provider Elinor Simmons of Moline Acre. “Thousands of caregivers are vindicated, now that the courts have recognized the validity of the democratic choice they made to be represented by the Missouri Home Care Union.”

The providers were granted the legal right to form a union after the Missouri Quality Home Care Act passed in 2008. They voted overwhelmingly to join the Missouri Home Care Union in 2009 but a judge blocked certification of their ballots after Integra Health Care Inc. challenged the election.

In 2010, a second election was held, and again a majority of those casting ballots voted in favor of the union, overcoming an aggressive anti-union campaign run through home care agencies and in the press. After that vote also was challenged, a court voided the election results, leading to the appellate court ruling in March upholding the providers’ vote to form their union.

The providers now have the power to negotiate for improvements in the state’s consumer-directed Home Care Program, and to address issues like lack of health insurance, or paid sick and vacation days.

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