A state representative called out a union lawyer for a gross exaggeration last month in an emerging controversy over just how many of the 70,000 home-based day care workers in Michigan knew they were being unionized.
Last year in a complicated union deal, about 70,000 day care workers in Michigan learned they had joined a union known as Child Care Providers Together Michigan and were now working for Michigan Home Based Child Care Council. About 40,000 of those home-based day care workers have union dues to the tune of $3.7 million a year automatically deducted from their state subsidy checks.
Some of the day care workers had been in business for a decade before finding out they were unionized.
Nick Ciaramitaro, Director of Legislation and Public Policy for Michigan AFSCME Council 25, told legislators at a Feb. 24 Family and Children’s Services Committee hearing that 95 percent of the day care workers voted for unionization.
When pressed later, Ciaramitaro reportedly lowered that number to 50 percent.
Which was it?
According to Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center For Public Policy, the number of day care owners who voted represented between 9 to 16 percent of those eligible.
State documents show that 6,396 day care workers voted and 5,921 were in support of forming a union. But the union supposedly represents the 70,000 day home-based day care workers in Michigan, not just the 40,000 who receive state subsidy checks, according to the Michigan Auditor General.
Wright says if you go by the 40,000 figure, then about 16 percent voted. If you go by all the day care workers covered by the union, then that drops it to 9 percent.
Wright said if Ciaramitaro meant to say that 95 percent of the 6,396 day care workers who voted were supportive of joining a union, he was only about three percent off.
Ciaramitaro didn’t respond to an e-mail sent to his home and work addresses requesting clarification.