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California files 50th suit against Trump administration, this time disputing union dues policy

Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Political News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California filed its 50th lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday, challenging a new federal rule that the state argues interferes with the ability to deduct union dues from the paychecks of workers in a government program that helps the elderly and disabled in their homes.

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the new rule applies to California's 500,000 workers in the state's In-Home Supportive Services program who provide home-bound clients with services such as bathing, feeding, house cleaning and administering medications.

Many workers are represented by the Service Employees International Union.

The federal government covers about half of the cost of the program, but a new Medicaid rule creates barriers for deducting employee medical benefits and voluntary union dues from workers' paychecks, according to the lawsuit filed by California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington. The rule affects home healthcare workers in the other states as well.

"With this rule, the Trump administration is not only harming Medicaid skilled home-care workers who have joined unions, but the millions of seniors and people with disabilities who depend on these indispensable workers," Becerra said in a statement.

About half of home-care workers elect to join a union, Becerra added.

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The rule "is a shameful political attack on home-care providers who are largely women and people of color," said April Verrett, president of SEIU Local 2015 during a news conference held with Becerra in Sacramento.

The lawsuit was filed in federal court in California.

The new rule "shows the reckless disregard of this administration for healthcare and these workers," Becerra said at the news conference. "It will disrupt these unions and the care their workers provide in monumental ways." he said.

Becerra's previous 49 lawsuits against the Trump administration include 24 lawsuits on environmental issues, of which the state won 15 in court, and 11 involving immigration matters in which the attorney general has prevailed five times, his representative said.

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