Home healthcare agency follows Democrats’ lead in busting labor

When the state Democratic leadership called the cops on organized labor last year in a ham-fisted effort to get out of voting on the Workers Privacy Act, they sent a couple of strong messages to employers statewide.

First, by killing legislation that would have prevented employers from requiring workers to attend anti-union meetings (or religious meetings, for that matter), and by doing so in such a high profile fashion, the Democratic leadership tacitly endorsed exactly the kind of coercive practices the bill sought to ban. Second, if the Democratic leadership, of all people, were willing to so casually throw organized labor under the bus — one of their most loyal constituencies — well, it was only time before employers started following their lead.

And that’s apparently what is happening with the Korean Women’s Association in their contract negotiations with home health care workers represented by SEIU 775NW.

The video above shows KWA Executive Director Peter Ansara bashing the union at a mandatory meeting held Feb. 1, 2010. “They’re not going to bat for you,” Ansara tells the assembled SEIU members “… but your dues just went up a buck.” Ansara goes on to accuse the union of “not standing up for you,” while KWA Board Chair Sul Ja Warnick reminisces fondly about the pre-union days. All this at a meeting billed as workers’ compensation training, and paid for with Medicaid funds.

So what’s KWA’s beef with SEIU? After years of enjoying a model labor-management relationship with SEIU, KWA has suddenly decided to play hardball. While none of the other eight home healthcare agencies SEIU bargains with in Washington state are seeking cuts in wages or benefits, KWA is demanding substantial concessions from workers whose starting salary is only $10/hour.

Since 2006, all of the state’s home healthcare agencies have covered the full cost of their workers’ compensation premiums, but KWA is demanding that its workers now pay 30 cents an hour, amounting to a 3 percent reduction in take-home pay. KWA is also alone in seeking to eliminate the 45 cents per mile reimbursement for workers driving between clients, during the workday, using their own vehicles… a tremendous potential hardship for such low wage workers, especially those working in more rural communities. And finally, while all agencies receive 10 cents a worker hour from the state to pay for training programs, KWA wants to only spend 5 cents an hour, and keep the other nickel for itself.

And if SEIU won’t budge, then apparently it has to be busted, or at least so seems the philosophy of Ansara, who took over the reins at KWA just before the agency assumed its new, anti-union posture.

“The caregiving business… is really from a business perspective, a numbers game,” Ansara told the assembled workers, though of course, it really is not. The caregiving business should be about providing compassionate, quality care. Indeed, Ansara’s statement reveals exactly the kind of attitude that inevitably leads to the sort of abuses recently documented by the Seattle Times.

But as long as we’re talking about numbers, it’s important to point out that while KWA pays workers $10/hour, it receives a $17.46/hour in Medicaid reimbursement from the state. The other home healthcare agencies are managing to get by on the same gross margins without demanding concessions from their already low-wage workers. Why can’t KWA?

I dunno. Perhapas Ansara is just a prick. Or perhaps KWA is particularly poorly managed. Or perhaps, KWA got the message loud and clear from Democrats in Olympia that it’s open season on labor.

What I do know is that I wouldn’t want my loved ones taken care of by a home healthcare agency that shows so little respect and empathy for its own workers.

Comments

  1. 1

    Michael spews:

    Goldy, you might want to take a look at the goings on at the Tacoma Housing authority while Ansara was running it.

  2. 2

    Isn't using his real name cause he works in the field spews:

    But as long as we’re talking about numbers, it’s important to point out that while KWA pays workers $10/hour, it receives a $17.46/hour in Medicaid reimbursement from the state. The other home healthcare agencies are managing to get by on the same gross margins without demanding concessions from their already low-wage workers. Why can’t KWA?

    I’d guess the increased remainder would be going into Ansara’s and the other top folks at the KWA’s pockets. We’re seeing a huge money grab going on by some of the heads of housing/care related non-profits in the South Sound.

    I dunno. Perhapas Ansara is just a prick.

    Bingo!

    I don’t think Ansara had a role in this, but I’d take a look:

    http://www.thenewstribune.com/.....58044.html
    The former executive director of the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association on Wednesday disputed recent claims made by the nonprofit’s board of directors that he improperly managed agency finances and misspent funds without board approval.

  3. 3

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I think everyone should be an entrepreneur! These workers should form their own independent consulting businesses and sell their services to KWA for $75 an hour. Everybody else charges $75 an hour, so why shouldn’t they? You can’t get a lawn mowed or a carpet cleaned for less than that.

  4. 4

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I would walk out on this guy. I simply wouldn’t work for him. And I’d be tempted to ding the fender of his Porsche on my way out of the parking lot.

  5. 5

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Goldy–
    You’re a funny man.
    Trying to paint the Democrats, who have put this State close to Bankrupcy with excessive benefits and compensation in a Recession to UNION Employees in an unsustainable way, is laughable. They have also supported Budgets with no cuts to Union Employee levels. In fact, the # have increased in a recession.

    Anyone who buys this BS is a fool.
    Bad Try==No Sale Goldy

  6. 6

    Isn't using his real name cause he works in the field spews:

    @4

    LOL… You wouldn’t be the first person to walkout on Ansara.

    Agency’s like this can be grouped into two camps:
    1. People aren’t paid much, but are treated well and employee turnover is quite low.
    2. People aren’t paid much, are treated like crap and turnover is really high (100% a year in a couple of cases).

    The groups that fall under exhibit #1’s example not only make more money for the bosses, they deliver better quality care. KWA used to fall under #1.

  7. 7

    Isn't using his real name cause he works in the field spews:

    @5

    This post has NOTHING to do with state employees.

  8. 8

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    It has to do with Democrats “busting labor”.
    The need to do it to the State Employees Union.
    You know, the one you work for.

  9. 9

    To Heck With Them spews:

    When are you going to wake up and realize that Mr. Cynical is right, Goldy?; the only way this state is going to survive is to cut wages and benefits of public sector workers down to a level that can be sustained by current revenues.

    Sure, some of them will leave for greener pastures, but let them! That will just help us shrink government even more, down to the level it’s supposed to be!

    And all those whiners who “depend” on the services that the state provides? Let them move to Oregon or some other place where the government is less enlightened. Heck, I bet Mr. Cynical would even pay for their bus tickets. Good riddance, I say.

  10. 10

    Isn't using his real name cause he works in the field spews:

    @8

    Nope! I’m not a state employee and I’m non-union.

    The graft and corruption going on at South Sound NP’s is going on at the top. See the link I posted @#2.

    All that’s going on here is an overpaid and under supervised manager is trying to get paid even more and supervised even less.

  11. 11

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    CyniKKKal,

    As a left-winger with anarchist tendencies, I agree we should reduce government, but more importantly, we need to reduce the ability of some to hold unaccountable power over others. So here’s my suggestion: Repeal Taft-Hartley.

    After all. It is a coercive big government policy restraining voluntary association, and you just HATE coercion, right?

    You bogus fuck.

  12. 12

    proud ass spews:

    Anarcho-syndicalists of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your asses. And your shirts. And your 401Ks. And your 401 Levis. And …

  13. 13

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    “And all those whiners who “depend” on the services that the state provides…”

    Well, ok. Let us start with teh deadbeat farmers in Asotin County who suckle off the federal government teat for crop supports, hydroelectric power, roads, schools, etc.

    You want to shrink government? OK Fine. Your programs get the ax first. Fair enough?

    Pompous lickspittle jerk. There are evil people in their gated communities in Palm Beach who cackle every time they read the screeds by fools like you who provide them with no cost political cover to play a zero sum game with our country’s wealth.

    You should feel like you are being used. Because you are.

  14. 14

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @12: ONE BIG UNION, ONE BIG STRIKE!

    Has a nice ring to it. Realistic? Perhaps not. But the “realism” of “free market” sycophants is no less realistic. Tea baggers screech against our society….a society still in the throes of the grinding effects of so-called free markets as the social bonds we know as “community” are broken down into cash transactions, big box stores stretch to the horizon, our farmland is paved over (a socialist policy by the way), and everybody ‘gets their own’, but it’s just dust.

    You want white picket fences, Ozzie and Harriet? Well, it ain’t gonna happen when you worship the golden calf. So what are you? Stupid? Or a tool?

  15. 15

    Michael spews:

    @12

    People have already lost their 401’s of various makes (good work with the Levi’s) & their houses & their heath insurance…

  16. 16

    manoftruth spews:

    @14
    You want white picket fences, Ozzie and Harriet?

    yeah, diversity has really made this one hell of a country.

  17. 17

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 Cynical, do you think it’s fair the poor pay 17% of their income to state/local taxes while the rich pay only 3%?

  18. 18

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @8 It doesn’t matter to me personally because I don’t work for the state anymore. I’ve already quit and taken my retirement. No one I know stays a day longer than they have to. Low pay, bad working conditions, hostile public — people aren’t putting up with it. They’re leaving. State agencies are being gutted of their experienced personnel.

  19. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I think what we’re dealing with is some white guys throwing a temper tantrum because they can’t boss everyone else around anymore.

  20. 22

    Michael spews:

    In other and good news, the owner of Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods has decided to retire and has turned the company over to his employees.

    http://abcnews.go.com/WN/owner.....id=9875038
    Moore’s work is a way of life and his employees are a second family, which is why he announced this week that he’s handing over the keys to his 209 employees.

    Moore said he’s gotten countless buy-out offers over the years, but he couldn’t envision selling the business to a stranger.

    Now that’s the kind of guy you want to work for.

  21. 23

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Michael–
    Good story.
    The Company will be owned by an ESOP.
    The article doesn’t say if that means 100% of the stock…I would assume so from the tenor of the article. You might want to check that out though.

  22. 24

    manoftruth spews:

    @20
    I think what we’re dealing with is some white guys throwing a temper tantrum because they can’t boss everyone else around anymore.

    white guys rog? the day you say black guys or jews i’ll eat my hat.

  23. 25

    Michael spews:

    Employee Stock Ownership Plan, that’s it. I was trying to remember what that was called. It sounds like any of the remaining stock would be held by Bob himself.

    It’s nice to see a good story every now and again.

  24. 27

    manoftruth spews:

    @26
    Ansara sure looks like a white guy to me.

    a jokes not funny if you have to explain it, but, if the guy in question was black, do you think roger would have used that in his post?

  25. 28

    spews:

    Why should someone changing the diapers of some elderly charge make more than $10/hr? They aren’t doing anything to serve society like running a theocratic PAC. If they do make more than that, they should tithe appropriately.

  26. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @27 I wasn’t referring to Ansara, idiot, I was referring to every list frickin’ one of you rightwing crybabies with emphasis on the teabag crowd.

  27. 30

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Paula Jones Lied

    Law professor Ken Gormley has written an exhaustively detailed book about the Lewinsky scandal that hits bookstores this week.

    Here are three gems from Gormley’s book:

    1. The “distinguishing characteristic” of Clinton’s anatomy described by Paula Jones didn’t exist.

    2. There is no evidence that Vernon Jordan helped Lewinsky get a job in exchange for her silence.

    3. Starr now says he was wrong to investigate the Lewinsky’s affair with Clinton.

    http://tinyurl.com/yzn2po8

  28. 31

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    @13,,,and those farmers in Asotin County feed your worthless faggot asses in Belltown…

    what? you gonna grow wheat on Dearborn or Elliot? good luck with that, city slicker..

    those farmers in eastern WA put in more work in a week than you fucks do in a month.

    starve, bitch, starve…..writing code in Redmond aint gonna feed your ass….

  29. 32

    Mathew "RennDawg" Renner spews:

    Man, I am glad we rejected SEIU. I never had to sit through an anti-union meeting, maybe because they know I an against joining SEIU. The only change that would happen is I would lose pay to fund causes I don’t agree with. That is why I pay taxes. SEIU is a bunch of cowards and bullies. I stood up to them and they never came back. It was almost a disappointment. I kept hearing how SEIU was going to get all of us into the union. A year and a half later a few people joined but no accounts joined. Rejection. So much for the tough SEIU. They are cowards.

  30. 33

    Puddybud is Sad my friend died spews:

    So Puddy asks Goldy what’s wrong sitting through an anti-union meeting? Will the union tell you how the union dues are spent? Will the union tell you how the big union leaders go to nice hotels and waste union funds enjoying the sun, sand and surf while the little peeps work for $10/hr?

    We know the SEIU leadership (Andy Stern) wasted almost $80 million on Odumbas campaign… then they laid off 74 union membas becuz they wasted all those union dues on Odumbas campaign. So where was the local union 775NW on that fiasco? Did they know? Did they tell their union constituents about this?

    Maybe the KWA is going about this all wrong. Why not file a FOIA and see the books? It seems to Puddy the usual suspects are here throwing around accusations with generic facts. What if Ansara is a BIG TIME Dummocrapt and votes lock step lickspittle Moonbat! in each election? He would sound “very progressive” to Puddy!

    While Goldy cries for the caregiver legislation in the other thread, will Goldy also call for the same type of legislation for those who take care of our kids approximately 7 hours a day in schools? Hmmm…? If you want to validate their employment with the aged then you have to do the same on the young-ins!

  31. 34

    nolaguy spews:

    My cousin works on the line at Boeing in Everett. He says that you don’t have to “join” the union there, but you have to pay dues regardless.

    I don’t understand that logic.

  32. 35

    Puddybud is Sad my friend died spews:

    Hey Dumb Bunny…

    Paula Jones lied about the SEIU? Who knew?

    Ooops.. it’s another polluted thread with worthless Pellets from Herr Goebbels Himmler Dumb Bunny, HA’s Useless Minister of Poop!

  33. 36

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @34 The logic is simple. It costs the union money to bargain for pay, benefits, and working conditions. Why should your cousin get that at union members’ expense? Under federal law, he’s entitled to not join the union, but he’s not entitled to be a freeloader.

  34. 37

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @34 If your cousin wants to work for Boeing without belonging to the union or helping pay for union wages and benefits he can request a transfer to South Carolina.

  35. 38

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @33 How much did employers spend on McCain’s campaign? And how many layoffs could have been avoided by spending that money on wages?

  36. 39

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @33 Workers are there to work. Employers pay them for their labor, and nothing else. Employers should not have a right to force workers to listen to political, religious, or economic propaganda. That should be against the law.

  37. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 “and those farmers in Asotin County feed your worthless faggot asses in Belltown…”

    Like hell they do. That wheat is sold to China.

  38. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 “those farmers in eastern WA put in more work in a week than you fucks do in a month.”

    And they get paid for it at the grocery store, so they don’t need to take our taxes, too.

  39. 43

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @31 If you’re a farmer, and you’re not satisfied with what your crops are worth in the free market, go into some other line of work. That’s what everyone else has to do.

  40. 44

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Don’t ask me, as a taxpayer and consumer, to prop up your farm income with crop supports, government-rigged prices, subsidized water, electricity, and farm loans, or special tax breaks. If you can’t make it without handouts, you’re in the wrong business.

  41. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Every last frigging one of those farmers at that Asotin teabag meeting is a socialist.

  42. 46

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @32 I’m sure your employer will reward your loyalty.

    HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR HAR

  43. 47

    nolaguy spews:

    Roger said: It costs the union money to bargain for pay, benefits, and working conditions. Why should your cousin get that at union members’ expense?

    I see the issue differently. If he doesn’t join the union, the union is not bargaining on his behalf and he should be able to negotiate his own pay/benefits, etc. The converse is also true, he doesn’t get the union “protection”.

    Why is he forced to pay dues if he is not in the union?

  44. 48

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Let’s pretend I work for KWA at $10 an hour. I was making $80 a day or $400 a week before taxes.

    Let’s say I drive 60 miles a day seeing clients. At 45 cents a mile that costs me $27 a day. The 30 cents an hour is another $2.40 a day. So now my pay is $253 a week instead of $400. That’s a 37% pay cut.

    Good luck finding my replacement, because I don’t work for you anymore. I can’t afford to. Oh, and btw, because the pay cut exceeds 25% I can collect unemployment benefits at your expense while I look for a new job.

  45. 49

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @47 “I see the issue differently.”

    You don’t get your way on this one, pal. Federal law protects unions from freeloaders like you.

  46. 50

    wobbly spews:

    somehow i doubt that rendawg would have had that same result going up against the teamsters or carpenters union.

  47. 51

    nolaguy spews:

    You don’t get your way on this one, pal. Federal law protects unions from freeloaders like you.

    There is a federal law that you have to pay union dues even though you don’t join the union? Really?

    I’ve never been in a union. I thought it odd that my Cousin has to pay dues, even if he doesn’t join. Is this normal?

  48. 52

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @47 He’s not paying dues if he’s not in the union. He pays a “shop fee” that recovers the union’s costs of bargaining for his wages, benefits, and working conditions.

    But let’s suppose federal law were changed so workers who don’t want to join the union can opt out of shop fees and bargain individually with the employer. Know what will happen?

    First, the union will negotiate a contract that covers only union members. Second, the employer will pay nonmembers a nonunion wage. Now visualize this scenario:

    Nonunion worker: Boss, I’m doing the same work as Joe Bloe, but he gets $28 an hour and I get only $14 an hour.

    Boss: He’s a union member, so he gets the union rate.

    Nonunion worker: I’d like to ask for a raise. I work faster than Joe, so I’m worth more. How about if we discuss $33 an hour?

    Boss: I can offer you $14 an hour.

    Nonunion worker: Um, what if we split the difference between $28 and $33?

    Boss: You have a job at $14 an hour. If you don’t want it, I have 300 applications in my file.

    Nonunion worker: Er, can’t we negotiate?

    Boss: I’m aware of your superior work, and I’d like to keep you. I’m willing to submit a request for $15 an hour to headquarters, but it’s their decision. So far, all the nonunion positions have come back as $14 an hour. They aren’t making any exceptions. The CEO says we need to control labor costs because the board wants to boost dividends.

    Nonunion worker: Will you be submitting that request today?

    Boss: No, I won’t get to it before next week at the earliest. Headquarters asked me to take a big shareholder on a VIP tour of the plant today.

    Secretary: Sir, Mr. Rabbit is here.

    Boss: I have to go now.

  49. 53

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @51 “There is a federal law that you have to pay union dues even though you don’t join the union? Really?”

    No, but there’s a federal law that says you have to pay shop fees to the union if you work in a union shop and don’t belong to the union.

  50. 54

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @51 “I’ve never been in a union. I thought it odd that my Cousin has to pay dues, even if he doesn’t join. Is this normal?”

    Your cousin doesn’t have to pay union dues unless he chooses to join the union.

    Unless he lives in a right-to-work state, if the union contract with the employer contains a “union security clause,” he can be required to pay shop fees as a condition of employment. This is found in the Taft-Hartley Act, which was enacted in 1947. Prior to Taft-Hartley, unions could negotiate contracts requiring employers to fire workers who failed to join the union within a specified time. This was found in the National Labor Relations Act enacted in 1935.

    I’m surprised you’re unaware of this. It’s basic labor law that most people learn in their high school civics class. Did you miss that class?

  51. 55

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Full disclosure: I own Boeing shares, so it doesn’t bother me if your cousin works for nonunion wages.

    I’m sentimental about unions, but let’s face it, the union is getting its ass kicked! Boeing has a hot new airplane, and is building them in a right-to-work state, where labor costs are half as much. And there won’t be any strikes disrupting production! This created an undervalued situation that I couldn’t ignore, so I backed up the truck and shoveled BA shares into my portfolio.

    Personally, I don’t understand why your cousin wants that lousy job. He should quit and flip stocks like me! The pay is better, taxes are lower, and there’s no commuting expenses or boss hassles. I’d much rather walk around the plant with the superintendent than work in it. It’s beyond me why anyone would rather be an employee than a shareholder. That makes no sense.

  52. 56

    Puddybud is Sad my friend died spews:

    @33 How much did employers spend on McCain’s campaign? And how many layoffs could have been avoided by spending that money on wages?

    More speculation from the dumb bunny. Provide proof fool! Puddy provided this proof many times. Ask ylb arschloch. He has every HA blog entry on his personal system AT HOME.

  53. 57

    Puddybud is Sad my friend died spews:

    @33 Workers are there to work. Employers pay them for their labor, and nothing else. Employers should not have a right to force workers to listen to political, religious, or economic propaganda. That should be against the law.

    Really? Where is the forcing? In your mind?

  54. 58

    Lauramae spews:

    Well this guy is a nice reminder as to why unions can be necessary. I find it appalling that in home health care workers can only make $10.00 an hour. With take backs on mileage and such, a person could make more money slinging burgers at McDonalds and not have to worry about lifting, lowering disabled adults into inflatable bathtubs, balancing a person in a hoyer lift, worrying about how to get a person out of a house in an emergency.
    Home health care workers often can’t even afford a car and seem to be socially very much on the edge. And yet these are the people who are there to take care of our most vulnerable citizens.

    It’s really very difficult for people who need to hire in home care providers to find people that they can keep.

  55. 60

    nolaguy spews:

    These workers need to be able to file for their OWN medicare reimbursement from the state!

    These organizations are making $17/hour to file and push paper?

    To me, it seems the union AND the KWA are taking advantage of these workers.

  56. 61

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @57 Uh, dumbshit, the forcing is when employers require employees to attend meetings and listen to whatever the employer wants to say, as a condition of continuing to be employed there.

  57. 63

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    This guy attends one of those nondenominational “prosperity” churches. You know — “God wants you to be rich” … screw that camel and needle business, the Bible is wrong about that.

  58. 64

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Note that he believes God wants him to be rich; the preacher man didn’t say anything about his employees getting rich.

  59. 65

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    It’s easier to fuck over workers if you talk yourself into believing God wants you to be selfish.

  60. 66

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @59 I’ve got 30 times as much to say as you, and it’s 30 times as much worth saying. I’m the soul of these comment threads. You’re just background static.

  61. 67

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @60 If they want to hire someone to negotiate for them, that’s none of your business.

  62. 68

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    @31, You’re funny Max. Lessee’ here, Senator votes for agicultural supports, irrigation projects, and roads. Our tax money at work. Fascist fuck in Asotin, living in socialist paradise, urges crowd to hang said senator.

    You’re points are therefore a heaping pile of inchoherent steaming shit.

    And what’s with you fuckers and calling people you have never met “faggots”? Is that supposed to be some kind of insult?

    Here’s one for you: Fuck off and die.

  63. 69

    nolaguy spews:

    @67 – Great addition to the conversation. Are you purposefully an obtuse troll, or just crazy?

    Let me simplify this so you can maybe add something useful to the discussion:

    My claim: Making $17/hr PER MEMBER to file and push paperwork does not seem like a good value for the people doing the actual work.

    Question to you: Do you agree or disagree?

    My claim #2: If these workers filed their own medicare claims (as individuals or as a group), they could make more money. You’ve always espoused the independent contractor here, so I think you would support this.

    Question #2 to you: Do you think the workers would benefit from filing their own medicare reimbursements and thus be able to make more money at their trade?

  64. 70

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @69 “@67 – Great addition to the conversation. Are you purposefully an obtuse troll, or just crazy?”

    Uh, no — this is a liberal blog; you’re the troll here.

    My saying that forming a union and negotiating a contract with the employer is between the workers and employer isn’t crazy. If you’re not the employer or one of the workers, then your intrusion into it is crazy.

    “Let me simplify this so you can maybe add something useful to the discussion:

    “My claim: Making $17/hr PER MEMBER to file and push paperwork does not seem like a good value for the people doing the actual work.”

    “Question to you: Do you agree or disagree?

    I would argue that if the employer gets $17/hr from Medicaid, and pays the workers $10/hr, the $7 difference might be going to necessary costs and a reasonable profit margin, or the employer might be profiteering at the workers’ expense. By forming a union, the workers can have a say in the pricing of their labor. As individuals, they’re at the mercy of the employer.

    “My claim #2: If these workers filed their own medicare claims (as individuals or as a group), they could make more money. You’ve always espoused the independent contractor here, so I think you would support this.

    “Question #2 to you: Do you think the workers would benefit from filing their own medicare reimbursements and thus be able to make more money at their trade?

    I can’t presume to tell the SEIU workers whether to form their own businesses or work for someone else. As a lawyer, I would own my practice and charge about $350/hr.; if you offered me a job as in-house counsel for your business at $25/hr., I’d say no.

  65. 71

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @69 Part of the problem is your reading comprehension. Nobody makes $17/hr. to push paper. The state pays $17.46/hr to KWA for providing home care services. KWA is the contractor who hires workers at $10/hr. and supervises their work. KWA keeps the $7.46/hr difference. This has to cover all of KWA’s expenses, including rent and utilities, office staff, business taxes, etc. Without seeing their books, I don’t know whether they can afford to pay their workers’ L&I and mileage. If they can’t, and other contractors can, that would argue they’re inefficient or their manager is overpaid. In fact, there’s a good chance here that Ansara wants to take money out of their pockets to put in his own pocket.

    If you want to argue about Medicaid vendor payment rates, then let me give you fair warning. There’s about two or three dozen people in the entire state who are experts on this subject. Congressman Jim McDermott is one of them, because he wrote the law. I’m one of them, because I used to do this kind of work for the state. There’s maybe 3 or 4 lawyers with private law firms who can be considered experts on this subject. So, if you want to argue with me about this, you’re going up against a legal expert who knows the subject.

    This is not a cost-plus system. The state determines the reimbursement rate and it’s up to the contractor to run an efficient operation within the budget established by the state-determined rate. If he doesn’t, he’ll lose money. When a union is involved and negotiates a uniform labor rate for all the contractors, then if Ansara can’t live with that labor cost it means something is wrong with his management, not with the negotiated labor rate. He’s either wasting money somewhere else in his operation, or he’s profiteering at the workers’ expense. If he has higher mileage costs than the other contractors because his clients live in rural areas then he should negotiate that with the state. But L&I and training costs should be the same for all the contractors, and the fact he’s trying to chisel in those areas, too, strongly suggests he’s a chiseler who is simply trying to line his own pockets at the workers’ expense.

    This case illustrates why workers need unions. The union is within its legal rights to try to include all the home care workers in its bargaining unit, so contractors like Ansara can’t drive the unionized contractors out of business by undercutting wages. Federal and state laws, not Ansara, determine whether KWA’s workers are unionized. If he can’t come to an agreement with them on wages, L&I taxes, training, and mileage, then they have the right to withhold their work unless there’s a no-strike clause in the law or contract. The workers reasonably expect him to agree to the same contract the other contractors do. His profit should be determined by how well he manages his business, not how hard he can squeeze his workers. SEIU exists in the first place because of the Ansaras of the world.

  66. 72

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    nolaguy apparently thinks SEIU is paid $17/hr for each member to represent them (i.e., “push paper”). It’s impossible to get that nonsense from what Goldy wrote unless you’re just plain stupid.

  67. 73

    nolaguy spews:

    Roger, what I wanted is discourse and viewpoint, and you have now provided that. Your last 3 posts are a stark contrast to the flippant responses you were giving.

    Thanks for giving me some knowledge about this area. As you can tell, I’m not an expert.

    And you’re right, I missed the delta between the reimbursement and the hourly wage.

    Based on what Goldy wrote, there still exists a profit between what the union or KWA receives from state medicare reimbursement and what they pay the workers. I haven’t seen their books but it’s easy math to see what kind of revenue they generate and determine if it’s grossly profitable or just keeping the lights on.

    But if I was one of these caregivers, I’d try to go independant and collect the reimbursement myself. I would make more money if I could do that.

    If you were one of these workers, what would you do?

    As an expert in this area, do you know if an individual can file for his/her own medicare reimbursement if they are a caregiver?

  68. 74

    fred spews:

    Interesting bit about about the L&I premiums. Employers pay 75% and employees pay 25%. The employer can’t make the employee pay more than that.

  69. 75

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @73 The union doesn’t receive money from the state. The union receives dues from its members for representing them in contract negotiations with the employers.

    Where would workers making $10/hr get capital to start a business? I suppose it’s not completely out of the question. But people making $10/hr do not, generally speaking, have money beyond their own subsistence.

  70. 76

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @73 “If you were one of these workers, what would you do?”

    I would try to become a doctor, lawyer, accountant, banker, plumber, electrician, operating engineer, or something else that pays better than $10/hr.

    “As an expert in this area, do you know if an individual can file for his/her own medicare reimbursement if they are a caregiver?”

    Yes, if they meet the requirements to become a medicaid contractor, and have a vendor contract with the state.

    http://apps.leg.wa.gov/WAC/def.....88-71-0510