Fairness Center’s Clients Urge Commonwealth Court to Enforce Homecare Ruling

July 14, 2017, HARRISBURG, Pa.—Last year, the Commonwealth Court struck down Gov. Wolf’s 2015 executive order attempting to unionize up to 20,000 Pennsylvania home care workers. But Wolf and major campaign contributor Service Employees International Union (SEIU) quickly implemented a scheme to sidestep the court’s ruling and funnel $1.25 million in Department of Human Services funds to a new organization created by the SEIU.

Today, the Fairness Center filed a motion on behalf of its clients Dave Smith and Don Lambrecht petitioning the Commonwealth Court to end the latest Wolf-SEIU scheme and, if necessary, hold Wolf in contempt.

The Wolf administration and a newly formed, SEIU-created nonprofit called the Training and Education Fund entered into an agreement that new home care workers must undergo a mandatory orientation program and be introduced to a union representative.

The Wolf administration plans to give the Training and Education Fund $1.25 million to administer this program.

However, this orientation program was one of the components of Wolf’s executive order which the Commonwealth Court invalidated. Consequently, the program is an illegal violation of the court’s order.

“The governor and the unions lost this case once already,” commented David Osborne, president and general counsel for the Fairness Center, “But now Wolf is trying a backdoor scheme to direct more than a million dollars to a non-profit created by the very same union the court’s order blocked.

“In addition, at this mandatory orientation Wolf will require home care workers to receive an ‘introduction’ to a representative from the group that was exploiting home care workers before the court invalidated the unionization scheme. In other states, the SEIU uses mandatory orientation as an opportunity to organize home care workers against the elderly and disabled people for whom they work, and now they’re bringing their show to Pennsylvania.

“My clients are calling on the Commonwealth Court to enforce its permanent injunction and put an end to Wolf’s plans to further invade their working relationship to benefit union interests.”


Shortly after assuming office, Gov. Wolf issued an executive order enabling the unionization of up to 20,000 home care workers. This would have enabled an SEIU-backed union to siphon millions of dollars in annual dues from home care workers.

The Fairness Center’s clients Dave Smith, who is homebound with muscular dystrophy and receives in-home care, and Don Lambrecht, Dave’s home care provider for 25 years, filed suit in Commonwealth Court to stop the unionization scheme.

The Commonwealth Court invalidated Wolf’s order last year, ruling that it intruded on the private employment relationships of thousands of Pennsylvanians and that Wolf exceeded his constitutional authority.

Wolf appealed the Commonwealth Court’s ruling to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, where it currently awaits consideration.

Early this year, the Wolf administration and the SEIU-created Training and Education Fund agreed to the mandatory home care worker orientation program in violation of the Commonwealth Court’s order.

Case documents

David Osborne is available for comment today. Please contact Conner Drigotas, 844.293.1001, cddrigotas@fairnesscenter.org to schedule an interview.

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The Fairness Center is a nonprofit, public interest law firm offering free legal services to those facing unjust treatment from public employee union officials. For more information visit www.FairnessCenter.org.