Ballot Supporters Disagree on Main Objective
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Ballot Supporters Disagree on Main Objective

Date: October 10, 2008
By: Joshua Skurnik
State Capitol Bureau

Intro: The Missouri Home Care Ballot Initiative is full of controversy this election season, including mixed feelings on the possible unionization of a state industry.

Joshua Skurnik (SCUR-nic) has more from Jefferson City. 

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One of the ballot initiatives in this year's election is the creation of a home care council, or Proposition B as it appears on the ballot. 

If passed the initiative would create a home care council made of consumers and health care bureaucrats which would work to stabilize the work force.

According to supporters, this will ensure the availability of quality personal care attendants who do not have a medical background.

Those against the initiative raised issues regarding the ambiguity of the bill in its goals.

Executive Director of the Missouri Alliance for Health Care Mary Schantz says the bill is a bad idea as it fails to specifically lay out how it will help the industy, yet is specific in the way in which the council can unionize the industry. 

 

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Description: I think that the ballot language, when you read what the voter is gonna see, doesn't say anything about unionizing the work force, the word union does not appear in it collective bargaining does not appear in it, and I just think that that's misleading.   
  
Schantz cited that ballot language doesn't suggest unionization as one of the main objectives,but the initiative allows the council to bring about a vote for unionization with a low approval rate of the work force.

Executive Director of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Jeffery Mazur, a union which supports the initiative, says Missouri needs a council in order to meet the needs of its aging population.

 

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Description: It's the great preference of people as they grow older to remain in their own homes and to get the care they need in the comfort of their own homes, that the number of folks who are going to need to utilize these services and want to utilize home care services will continue to grow.
 
Mazur says that though the current level of quality is good among workers, a council will keep that level high in the future. 

There is even dissent among the initiative's sponsors on the legislation's true purpose.

Executive Director of Missourians for Quality Health Care Alphonso Mayfield and Executive Director of the Disabled Citizens Alliance for Independent Living Richard Blakely were key authors of the initiative. 

Alphonso Mayfield says the initiative is primarily for the benefit of those recieving care.

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Description: If you look at the legislation, it's about empowering the consumers to be able to have a voice in this program, and to be able to make sure that this program is viable,  that it's around, and that it's responsive to the needs of the consumers.

Mayfield says that the council will exist to give a voice to those who actually use home care services.

According to Richard Blakely however, unionization is the primary purpose of the initiative.

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Description: Right now if an individual attendent goes to Jeff City and says I need higher wages, where are they going to get, they are not really going to get anywhere. If they have a council and a union behind them, it has more of an impact.
 
Blakely says that a representative force will help keep attendents from leaving the work force, helping retain higher quality and more experienced employees.
 
The estimated cost of the council will be over half a million dollars each year, with the funds coming out of the state government.
 
Reporting from the state capitol, I'm Joshua Skurnik.


 


 

 

 


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