A trainer for a union-affiliated nonprofit group was recorded falsely telling state-subsidized homecare providers in Aberdeen, Wash., during a mandatory training session that they must sign up as union members to qualify for their subsidies.

The recording shows the difficulty providers face in understanding their labor rights even after the Supreme Court ruled on the issue last year.

The video footage was obtained by the Freedom Foundation, a conservative nonprofit group. A spokeswoman for SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership, the nonprofit agency contracted by the state to provide the training, confirmed to the Washington Examiner it was from one of their sessions.

Little can be seen in the video — the camera was apparently facing down — but the audio is clear and shows a trainer telling the trainees that if they are being paid by the state they are required to join the union that represents the caregivers, Service Employees International Union Local 775. The trainees were applying for a state subsidy to offset the cost of taking care of a person at home, in most cases a disabled family member.

When a trainee objects, saying she doesn't want to join, the trainer tries to sell her on the benefits of joining the union. When the trainee persists, he says she has no choice.

"Yeah, if you were being privately paid then it wouldn't matter. Because if you work either directly through the state from [the Department of Social and Health Services] or if you work for an agency, yeah, you're part of the union. But they do do a lot of good," the trainer is recorded as saying.

That isn't true. The Supreme Court decided in 2014's Harris v. Quinn decision that receiving subsidies did not mean that homecare providers were state employees. Therefore, the state could not require the providers to join or otherwise financially support a union. The case applied to an Illinois program but rather than risk a court ruling that it applied to Washington state as well, the Local 775 and the state amended the union's contract in December, explicitly stating that providers are "not required to join or financially support a union" and that it was the union's duty to inform its members of that.

The change meant that providers could opt out of paying the fees, but that they had to request it in writing to the union. If they did not, the state would continue to automatically collect the fees — amounting to 3.2 percent of the provider's subsidy checks — on the union's behalf. As the recording shows, at least some providers were misled into believing they didn't have that option.

Naomi Ishisaka, spokesman for the SEIU Healthcare NW Training Partnership, conceded the trainer was wrong. "It is specifically not our policy to speak on behalf of the union. Unfortunately, this was a human error and we're going to do whatever we can to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.

Asked if the trainer had been disciplined for the error, she said she did not know.

Maxford Nelsen, labor policy analyst for the Freedom Foundation, declined to say how it obtained the recording other than to say it was recorded by a provider within the last few months. He said the provider asking the questions was not the same one doing the recording.

"The person does not want to be publicly named," Nelson said. "We've been hearing anecdotal reports like this for months."