Congrats to Service Employees International Union 1199 for a huge legislative win. Yesterday, the House and Senate overwhelmingly overrode Gov. Romney’s veto of the so-called PCA bill.
The new law will establish a central clearinghouse for disabled persons to find qualified personal care attendants, and will allow PCAs to obtain decent benefits, including health coverage. It will set up Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Quality Workforce Council, helping reduce turnover among PCAs and ensuring that people with disabilities and the growing number of seniors can access the care they need to live at home in Massachusetts. It will result in a higher quality PCA workforce, and it will cost more money, because PCAs are now paid disgracefully low wages without benefits. SEIU had threatened to pass this law on the November 2006 state ballot, and withdrew the question after the House and Senate approved the law unanimously.
Last Friday, Gov. Romney vetoed the legislation. In his veto message, Romney called “several provisions … deeply disturbing,” and said the bill “appears to be designed exclusively to benefit a particular union by supplementing its membership with private sector and not-for-profit employees at the taxpayers’ expense.” Romney charged the bill could qualify as many as 20,000 people for public-sector employee benefits. Amendments Romney sent back two weeks ago were rejected.
Great piece of work by 1199 that got just about no media attention.