Negotiations begin for 13,000 Missouri home care attendants bargaining first contract

by Joe Lawrence  |  November 25, 2013  | AFSCME Blog

Home care attendant Julia May of St. Joseph.

Home care attendant Julia May of St. Joseph.

It was a great day, five years in the making, when home care attendants met with the State of Missouri for their first-ever contract negotiation session.

The Missouri Home Care Union bargaining team on Tuesday, Nov. 19, went over a range of issues with the state. The first day dealt with non-economic issues such as representation rights, a voice in policies and procedures, adequate training and resolving late-payment issues. Economic issues will be addressed in later sessions. The next bargaining date is scheduled for Dec. 10.

“We’re making it clear to the state that we’re united and committed to make home care better for attendants and the people we help, our consumers,” said Julia May of St. Joseph. “I can tell we’re making a difference.”

The negotiations are a result of the Quality Home Care Act, which Missouri voters overwhelmingly passed in 2008. The law opens the door to improvements in the Medicaid-funded program and allows the state’s 13,000 attendants to have a voice in their work. The Missouri Home Care Union, a partnership of AFSCME and SEIU, posted two resounding election victories and turned back right-wing legal attacks on its way to this month’s historic negotiations.

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