A news service for the people of Michigan from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

State Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, has submitted a resolution asking that the Michigan Supreme Court hear a case involving home-based day care workers who say they didn't realize they were unionized by the state.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation appealed the case to the Michigan Supreme Court. The public-interest law firm filed a lawsuit against the state Department of Human Services on behalf of home-based day care providers. In December of 2009, the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed the case without explanation.

"We are not giving up on this," Agema said. "You got people paying union dues who don't want to be part of a union."

The case involves at least 40,000 home-based business owners and millions of dollars that were affected by the union effort to designate the providers as government employees for unionization and dues-collecting purposes.

Agema said he is also working on getting an amicus brief filed with the case from the Michigan House of Representatives' Republican Caucus. An amicus brief is filed by a party not directly related to the case, but shows their support.

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said the resolution and amicus brief could help the efforts to get the state Supreme Court to hear the case. Wright said part of the criteria the high court uses is gauging the public interest in the case.

"It would be welcomed to have that done," Wright said. "The more perspectives we have saying, 'There was something wrong here,' the better."

Agema served on the House appropriations subcommittee that questioned the Department of Human Services about how the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council — a state agency — had its funding axed from the state budget but continued to operate.

At the time, DHS officials told Agema they couldn't answer that question because of the lawsuit. Later, a Michigan Home Based Child Care Council official said it gets its money from other funds in the Department of Human Services.

Kathy Hoekstra, a communications specialist with the Mackinac Center, set out to find who the employer was for the home-based day care workers that were being unionized but could find no individual or organization willing to claim them.

The Michigan Education Association says members may leave only in the month of August. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy has set up www.AugustOptOut.org to help inform MEA members of their rights.


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