(Jefferson City) On March 12, 2009 the newly formed union for Missouri home care attendants submitted petition cards signed by thousands of attendants to hold an election for union representation. Missouri’s Consumer Directed Home Care program provides vital services to tens of thousands of Missourians with disabilities, allowing them to continue living at home. Though the program – and the attendants who assist the consumers – saves the state millions of dollars by allowing consumers to remain in their homes and not go to nursing facilities, attendants barely make minimum wage and have no benefits. An array of issues face consumers and attendants which and will be better addressed through collective bargaining.
This is made possible by the last November’s passage – with 75% of the vote -- of Proposition B, the Missouri Quality Home Care Act, which sets up the Missouri Quality Homecare Council. Missouri’s two largest unions representing home care attendants – the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Service Employees International Union – have formed an alliance to represent Missouri attendants. A union representation election by attendants, conducted by the state Board of Mediation, is expected later this spring.