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

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The Human Side of Right-to-Work Legislation

These are real people who have been hurt by forced unionization

As Michigan gets closer to becoming a right-to-work state, the focus often is on economics. There are plenty of reasons to support worker freedom based on that alone, but we should always remember the most important aspect: Allowing members the choice of whether to financially support a political organization is a moral one.

In our state, right now, tens of thousands of people are being forced to send money to the Service Employees International Union, simply because they care for a friend or family member who receives a Medicaid stipend.

The SEIU has taken over $33 million from the elderly and disabled in Michigan in the last six years through a unionization scheme it orchestrated when Jennifer Granholm was governor. The majority of these people had no idea they were being forced into a union.

When the Michigan Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder acted to end the scheme, the SEIU took legal action and then spent at least $6 million — money taken from those caregivers without their consent to use it for politics — to try and lock the dues skim into the state constitution: It failed.

Every newspaper in the state editorialized against Proposal 4. The Detroit Free Press called it "easy to dismiss" and The Detroit News said it was a "crass power grab."

Several families reached out to Michigan Capitol Confidential to tell their stories: The Haynes family, who look after their two adult children who have cerebral palsy; Steven Glossop, who looks after his mother who lives with medical complications following heart surgery and a stroke; the Milliron family, whose adult son Ronnie "cannot walk or talk and is like a 5-month old" needing to be spoon-fed; and Richard Nottage, who looked after his ex-wife for just a few weeks. All of those individuals had some sort of current or previous experience as union members outside of the SEIU.

If Michigan becomes a right-to-work state, no union could ever force a worker to pay dues or agency fees as a condition of employment, and unions would be forced to cater to their member's needs.

If you think this is only an economic debate, I encourage you to watch the Haynes family tell their story of forced unionization.

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Meet James Hohman, Assistant Director of Fiscal Policy at the Mackinac Center. James discusses his latest project, an analysis of Proposal 1, the proposal on personal property tax reform that will appear on the August 5th ballot. Read more about Proposal 1 here: http://www.mackinac.org/20246


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