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.
To stop SEIU 775 from deducting dues from your pay:
- Enter your information into the form below and click “submit.”
- On the resulting page, click the link to open your customized form. You will also receive an email with a link to your form.
- Print the form. If you check the appropriate box requesting a printed version, we’ll mail you a copy of the form.
- Sign and date the form.
- Mail the completed form to the address at the top of the form. We highly recommend sending it via certified mail.
Frequently Asked Questions
Individual providers who wish to opt out of paying dues to support SEIU 775 simply have to complete the form above 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.
According to federal filings, the union’s dues in 2017 were 3.2 percent of salary per month, with minimum dues of $32/month. The average caregiver currently pays about $680 per year in dues.
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.
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, thousands of 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 119 last year and collected $27.7 million in dues and fees from its members, according to reports the union must file with the U.S. Dept. of Labor. In 2017 alone:
- $6 million went to 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.
- $4.1 million was spent by SEIU 775 on political activity and ideological causes.
- $626,000 was spent on airfare, hotels and travel for union staff.
- $1.2 million was paid to private attorneys, much of which was used to fight efforts by the Freedom Foundation to help individual providers learn about and exercise their constitutional right to opt-out of union membership.
- $155,954 was spent on food and catering.
Examples of some interesting expenses include:
- $490,025 in contributions to the Massachusetts-based See Forward Fund, a progressive dark money group.
- $12,100 for an event at the Seattle Museum of History & Industry.
- $14,107 spent on social media.
- $16,605 spent at the Swing Wine Bar in Olympia
- $12,590 for photographers.
Also, despite having stockpiled $18.9 million in spare cash, SEIU 775 increased the minimum dues amount providers must pay from $31 to $32 per month.
- 14 SEIU 775 employees were paid six-figure salaries last year.
- SEIU 775 president David Rolf was paid $215,201 last year.
- SEIU national president Mary Kay Henry was paid $282,752 last year.
All together, SEIU 775 estimates that 43 percent of the dues it collects from members go towards politics and other activity unrelated to representing caregivers.
SEIU 775 has purchased its own office building in downtown Seattle, worth $11.4 million in 2018.
A portion of the dues paid by SEIU 775 members go to support the SEIU Washington State Council, which is currently being sued by the Washington State Attorney General for failing to disclose the fact that it operates entirely as hub for political contributions.
Lastly, a portion of the dues SEIU 775 members pay goes to support SEIU International in Washington, D.C., which collected $282 million in 2017 and had a paid staff of at least 590.
- $33.3 million was spent by SEIU International on divisive political candidates, causes and lobbying, including $20,000 to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
- $4.4 million was paid or contributed to largely ideological organizations.
- $8.3 million was spent on airfare, hotels and travel.
- $121,745 was spent on food and catering.
- SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry was paid $282,752 in 2017
- 260 SEIU International employees were paid six-figures in 2017.