If Proposal 4 passes, constitutional amendment would lock in current union-stacked board
Time is running out for Gov. Rick Snyder to replace before Election Day the union-stacked Michigan Quality Community Care Council board.
Replacing the board that oversees the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3), the dummy employer created as part of a scheme by the Service Employees International Union to help unionize about 44,000 home-based caregivers in Michigan, could give the governor a measure of control over the situation if Proposal 4 were to pass in November.
Proposal 4, which Gov. Snyder opposes, is an attempt to lock the forced unionization of Michigan's home-based caregivers into the constitution. According to the wording of Proposal 4, those on the MQC3 board before the election would automatically get four-year terms on the board of a new entity called the Michigan Quality Home Care Council (MQHCC). If the governor doesn't act and the proposal passes, he would no longer have the authority to replace them.
Gov. Snyder is considering taking action on replacing members of the MQC3 board, said Sara Wurfel, the governor's press secretary.
"This is something under close review and assessment, and we're exploring options," she said.
In 2005, the SEIU targeted Michigan's share of the federal Home Help Program as a dues-producing source. Under the federal Home Help Program, elderly patients and others suffering from various ailments can be cared for at home instead of being placed in nursing homes or other long-term care facilities.
The SEIU pulled off its scam by taking advantage of Michigan's first unionization that was conducted through the mail. As a result, the SEIU has been taking money from the Medicaid checks of the elderly and disabled for about seven years. To date, more than $32 million has been taken by the SEIU.
"I would hope the governor would do this before the deadline," said Wendy Day, of Common Sense in Government. "If he has the chance to put responsible leadership on the board, he should do it.
"Everyone knows this is a scam," Day said. "If it turns out that we can't fix it, I would hope the governor would take advantage of any opportunity to mitigate the damage."
Earlier this year, Gov. Snyder signed a law making the unionization illegal because the workers are not state employees. The SEIU took the issue to federal court and said it was a "First Amendment advocacy organization" that would suffer "irreparable damage" if the money flow stopped. U.S. District Court Judge Nancy G. Edmunds ruled in the union's favor.
The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a case with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission against the SEIU over unfair labor practices. The legal action asks MERC to reverse the decision that recognized the forced unionization of those workers nearly seven years ago. It also asks that the money being taken for dues be immediately ended and for the return of about six months' worth of dues, or about $3 million.
"Everything that can be done to fight this situation should be done," said Gene Clem, of the Southwest Michigan Tea Party Patriots. "I think that this (replacing the MQC3 board) would be an excellent step for the governor to take."
Ironically, Snyder now has the opportunity to make the SEIU's dummy employer into an entity that could at least approximate a real employer. He could replace the MQC3 board with members who would no longer do the SEIU's bidding. The SEIU has funneled money to the MQC3 and the union works closely with the MQC3's executive director, who can't work more than 3 hours a month so she can continue to collect unemployement benefits.
Dohn Hoyle, who is a member of the current MQC3 board, also is treasurer and co-chairman of the "Keep Home Care Safe" campaign, which is the group behind the effort promoting Proposal 4. He also heads Home Care First Inc., which has provided $1.84 million to the campaign committee for Proposal 4. Hoyle also is executive director of The Arc Michigan and under Hoyle's direction, the Arc donated $50,000 to the MQC3 this past spring.
Proposal 4 backers try to give the impression that the union got three pay increases for the home-based caregivers. It didn't. When pressed on this subject, defenders of the forced unionization simply repeat the claim that the SEIU achieved that for workers.
The MQC3, which has admitted it is not the employer of the home-based caregivers, has had no ability to give the caregivers a raise and neither would the MQHCC, the new entity that would be created if Proposal 4 passes.
Only the legislature has the ability to boost the value of the Medicaid checks that home-based caregivers receive. At most, the SEIU could lobby for an increase. Receiving a percentage of the caregivers' Medicaid checks for lobbying would be like activists who lobby on behalf of welfare recipients receiving money deducted from welfare checks and food stamps.
Of the three pay increases home-based caregivers have received since 2005, two were tied to increases in the minimum wage. Former Gov. Jennifer Granholm lobbied for and got the other increase, which was regionally-based and not uniform.
Gov. Snyder clearly understands the dangers of this ballot proposal being locked into the state constitution and relayed his opposition in a press release and video explaining why he's against Proposal 4.
"Proposal 4 creates a slippery slope," Gov. Snyder said in a statement posted on the governor's website. "Anyone else who receives a direct or indirect payment from the government may be involuntarily enlisted into a union, as well."