Questions surround signing that extends contract through February 2013
On the day Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill to stop the flow of money being taken from home health care workers checks and handed to the Service Employees International Union, the union signed a contract extension with the dummy employer it helped create to keep the scheme alive.
The contract extension between the Michigan Quality Community Care Council and the SEIU keeps what is now known as the "home health care dues skim" potentially in place through February 2013. Attorney Gen. Bill Schuette ordered an end to the "skim" last month but the SEIU sued in federal court to keep it alive.
Healthcare Michigan, an affiliate of the SEIU, signed the contract extension with Susan Steinke, executive director of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council.
MQC3 was the dummy employer used by the SEIU to net tens of thousands of so-called home health care workers into the union seven years ago. The target of the unionization scheme was the Medicaid checks sent to help provide home care for homebound patients.
Most of those workers had no way of knowing what was taking place and the vast majority were family members or friends taking care of loved ones in their homes.
So far the SEIU has received more than $30 million in dues and other fees deducted from the Medicaid checks.
"Given that MQC3 is being funded by the union it should be no surprise that they made such a last minute deal," said Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst for Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "This extension has nothing to do with keeping a registry in place or helping caregivers. It has everything to do with cash flow for the union."
In 2011, the Michigan Legislature de-funded the MQC3 in an effort to stop the "skim." However, documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that the dummy employer was kept alive with at least one transfusion of money ($12,000) from the SEIU and with Steinke running it out of her Okemos home. Adding to the extraordinary circumstances was the fact that Steinke could work no more than three hours a month because she wanted to maintain her unemployment compensation.
Steinke did not respond to questions asking her where the extension was signed; if there were any witnesses; if the signing complied with the Open Meetings Act or other details surrounding the now extended contract.