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Medicaid Officials Propose End to Deducting Home Health Aides’ Union Dues

WASHINGTON—The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has begun procedures to prohibit an estimated 500,000 home health-care aides from having union dues automatically deducted from their paychecks. The proposed rule would cover “individual providers,” aides who don’t work for private, for-profit agencies, and are technically state employees, paid directly by Medicaid. Tim Hill, acting director of CMS’ Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, told NPR that dues deduction was illegal because federal law says Medicaid providers “cannot have part of their payments diverted to third parties, outside of a few very specific exceptions.” Unions say that argument is simply a pretext to weaken them, by forcing them to collect dues from individual workers at thousands of locations. “How about they suggest I pay my state taxes and federal taxes by mail?” asked Service Employees International Union member Melody Benjamin, a home-care worker in Chicago. The agency is taking public comments on the proposed rule through Aug. 13. Both SEIU, which represents about 250,000 home-care workers in California alone, and the National Employment Law Project say they expect to challenge the rule in court if it goes into effect. Read more

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