Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Intellectual Dishonesty Surrounding King O'Malley's Executive Orders

After another look at the Baltimore Sun article on Martin O'Malley's executive orders allowing home health care and child care workers who are already subsidized by the state to unionize, I noticed one glaring bit of misinformation:

"Lorraine Sheehan, co-chairwoman of the advocacy group Medicaid Matters, said home health aides can be paid as little as $24.50 a day, leading to significant turnover and difficulty in recruiting quality workers."
Sounds damning at first, doesn't it? Only $24.50 a day? Who could possibly live on that? But what the article fails to point out are the number of hours the supposed $24.50 a day worker puts in. So let's take a look at how many hours one could work for $24.50 a day.

If we assume that the worker is making the BLS average for a nonsupervisory home health care worker, $14.41 an hour, this worker is only working 1.7 hours a day. Even if we assume that this worker is only making Maryland minimum wage (which is not the case, given the national average), of $6.55 an hour, this worker is only putting in about 3 hours and 45 minutes. Legally, 3 hours and 45 minutes are the most any worker can put in, in any job to make $24.50 a day. Not even an entry level janitor at McDonalds can make less than $24.50 for 3 hours and 45 minutes of their time.

Therefore, we can assume we have been given the daily wage of a very part time, probably on-call home health care worker. Why is this important? Because it was presented by a proponent of unionization as a damning statistic in favor of these executive orders.

When in fact, such a worker likely does the work because they enjoy it, not for the money, and if more of the profession were unionized, would probably be the first to be squeezed out.

An intellectually honest proponent of these executive orders might have presented the daily wage of a full-time home health care worker. Given that this isn't the case, I wonder what they're hiding? Could it be that subsidized home health care workers already make the national average, or close to it, and the union wouldn't be able to garner very much sympathy for someone making close to $14 an hour?

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