How Individual Provider Home Care Aides in Washington Can Opt Out of SEIU 775 Dues
Beginning in 2003, state-paid individual provider home care aides were required to pay union dues to SEIU 775 as a condition of employment and the state automatically withheld union dues from IPs' pay. However, because of the U.S. Supreme Court's June 2014 decision in Harris v. Quinn, individual provider home care aides can now demand that SEIU 775 cease withholding union dues/fees from their state paychecks.
The court referred to the requirement for partial-public employees like IPs to pay union dues as a money-making "scheme" for the union and ruled that the mandatory dues requirement violated providers' First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and association.
Even if you never signed a union membership card, the state and union will still automatically withhold dues from your pay until you demand in writing that the deductions stop. You can opt out of SEIU 775 dues by completing this form and mailing it to SEIU.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do I have to do in order to get the SEIU to stop deducting dues from my Medicaid checks?
Individual providers who wish to opt out of paying dues to support SEIU 775 simply have to complete this letter and mail it to the union at the address provided. It's a good idea to send the letter via certified mail or a similar service that provides you with proof of delivery.
How much are SEIU 775 dues?
According to federal filings, the union's dues in 2015 were 3.2 percent of salary per month, with minimum dues of $30/month, up from $29/month in 2014. The average provider currently pays about $600 per year in dues.
Will I still be able to be paid to serve Medicaid clients if I opt-out of paying dues to SEIU 775?
Yes. Under state law, the union contract for individual providers is binding on all providers in the state, regardless of whether they want to be union represented and regardless of whether they choose to pay union dues. Opting out of paying dues will in no way affect your ability to be paid by the state to work for Medicaid clients.
If I resign from the union and stop paying dues, will I lose my health insurance?
No. Health insurance is offered through the SEIU Healthcare NW Health Benefits Trust, not SEIU 775. As an individual provider, you are still eligible to purchase insurance through the Trust, even if you no longer pay union dues to SEIU 775. Even though it has “SEIU” in the title, the Trust is a different entity than SEIU 775 the union. According to its website, the trust is "a nonprofit entity that operates independently of SEIU and participating employers." The state pays the Trust a fixed amount for every hour an IP works for “the purposes of offering individual health care insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance to members of the bargaining unit.”
Additionally, SEIU 775 secretary-treasurer Adam Glickman recently confirmed in an email to an IP that, “members do not lose health benefits or other collectively bargained benefits if they opt-out.”
Lastly, about 1,400 IPs have successfully opted out since the 2014 court ruling allowed them to do so. None have reported any difficulty keeping their health insurance after opting out.
Will I lose my retirement benefits if I opt out?
No. Just like health insurance, SEIU 775 and its membership dues do not provide IPs’ retirement. For every hour an IP works, the state pays $0.23 into a 401(k) style plan administered by a separate trust. The state will continue to make these payments on your behalf even if you resign from SEIU 775.
If I stop paying dues, will I still be able to get my required training and continuing education?
Yes. By law, all of IPs required training and continuing education is provided by the SEIU Training Partnership. Even though it has “SEIU” in the title, the Partnership is a separate organization from SEIU 775 the union. As with health insurance, the state, not SEIU 775, funds the Training Partnership. Specifically, the state is legally obligated to provide contributions to the Partnership that "are sufficient to fully pay for training that is legally required of IPs to maintain qualifications." Your access to necessary training and continuing education through the Training Partnership will be unaffected if you cease paying dues to SEIU 775.
How will my relationship with the union change if I resign my membership in SEIU 775 and stop paying dues?
While the terms of SEIU 775's contract will still apply to you and your relationship with your client and the state will remain unchanged as a nonmember of SEIU 775, you will no longer be able to participate in internal union affairs, such as attending union meetings, participating in contract ratification votes or voting for union officers.
How does SEIU 775 spend my dues money?
SEIU 775 does not function like a traditional union. It cannot represent providers in workplace disputes or grievances, because individual providers have an employer-employee relationship with their clients, not the state. The core of SEIU 775's activity involves negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the state once every two years. Despite its limited role, SEIU 775 had a paid staff of at least 116 last year and collected tens of millions of dollars in dues from providers.
According to reports the union must file with the U.S. Department of Labor, SEIU 775 collected $23.7 million in dues and fees from its members in 2015.
- $5.9 million went to support the SEIU's headquarters in Washington, D.C., to support its massive political, economic and social agenda. The national SEIU regularly supports a host of controversial organizations like Planned Parenthood — the nation's largest abortion provider — which received $20,000 from SEIU last year alone.
- $4.5 million was spent by SEIU 775 on political candidates and causes.
- $1.4 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff.
- $595 thousand was paid to private attorneys, much of which was used to fight efforts by the Freedom Foundation to inform individual providers of their newly-acknowledged constitutional right to opt-out of union membership.
- $172,392 for "audio visual services" at union events.
- $139 thousand was paid to ideological organizations.
- $83 thousand was spent on food and catering.
Examples of some interesting expenses include:
- $858,783 contribution to the Massachusetts-based See Forward Fund, a progressive dark money group.
- $33,163 for an event at the Seattle Aquarium
- $12,626 spent at the Swing Wine Bar in Olympia
- $36,206 spent at the Alderbrook Resort
- $19,718 at Paul Joseph Brown Photography
- $7,306 at the swanky Renaissance Hotel in St. Louis
- $20,000 contribution to a self-described progressive Jewish activist group in New York
- $5,000 contribution to the New York-based Center for Popular Democracy run by former activists of the scandal-plagued ACORN.
- $10,000 contribution to the campaign for a transportation tax increase in Seattle.
Also, despite having stockpiled $11.5 million in spare cash, SEIU 775 increased the minimum dues amount providers must pay from $29 to $30 per month.
10 SEIU 775 employees were paid six-figure salaries last year.
SEIU 775 president David Rolf received a salary of $189,046 last year.
SEIU national president Mary Kay Henry received a salary of $296,549 last year.
SEIU Council 14's 2015 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU Council 14's 2014 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU Council 14's 2013 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU Council 14's 2012 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2015 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2014 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2013 LM-2 report is available here.
SEIU's National 2012 LM-2 report is available here.