A judge in Jefferson City has extended an injunction that stands in the way of the state bargaining with the union representing home care workers under the Integra Home Care banner. Cole County Circuit Judge Byron Kinder will hear arguments in November to determine whether a legal challenge to approval of Proposition B, last November, or the subsequent union election process, was flawed.
Proposition B, the Quality Home Care Act, approved overwhelmingly by voters last fall, created the Quality Home Care Council which could represent the state in bargaining with the Missouri Home Care Union. Integra Home Care Services claims the union election process was flawed because opponents were not given an opportunity to be heard. It wants the results voided.
"If there’s going to be an election we want, certainly, there to be an informed and a fair election," said Integra Executive Director Phil Melugin. "We believe that the process leading up to the election is fatally flawed."
Melugin adds the deception was an extension of what went on in the general election campaign.
"It was very deceptive to the voters of Missouri," said Melugin. "When they created the ballot initiative, the media campaign, all of the effort behind getting this passed – not once was it mentioned that this was actually a process to unionize a segment of employees."
Attorney Art Martin, representing the Missouri Home Care Union, says Integra simply isn’t happy with the results of the November voting and wants to stop the union effort from moving forward.
"The union is continuing to go ahead and organize," said Martin. "We’re meeting with members and members are putting together their views of what they would like the state to take into consideration in administering the program and what their rights and responsibilities are – and we’ll continue to do that."
A hearing is scheduled for November 5th. At that time Judge Kinder will determine whether the union can move foreward with bargaining on behalf of the personal care attendants.