Documents acquired by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy through a Freedom of Information Act request show that unions representing government employees fared well in 2009, in spite of a nationwide recession that has hit Michigan especially hard. Union dues payments made by the state on behalf of government employees actually increased from $17.6 million in 2008 to $18.1 million in 2009. Five of the six unions that bargain collectively with the state recorded increases in dues income.
According to the Michigan Civil Service Commission, the number of state employees who are represented by a union went up slightly, from 38,504 in 2008 to 38,524 in 2009. The increase of 20 represented employees does not explain the increase in dues payments. The average state employee saw his annual union dues increase by $12.67 in 2009, from $456.97 to $469.64. And it’s very unlikely this dues hike was on account of rising costs; the consumer price index actually declined from 2008 to 2009.
The Michigan Corrections Organization, SEIU Local 526M, was the only union to report a decline in state employee dues revenue, on account of losing 400 employees in its bargaining unit. Another SEIU local, 517M, was a big winner, adding 400 employees and increasing its income by nearly $300,000. UAW Local 6000 saw its dues income go up by over $200,000. Another three unions recorded more modest gains.
These membership dues are essentially guaranteed by the state under the terms of collective bargaining agreements, and the state collects these funds and transfers them over to various unions. In the end, it’s taxpayers who are paying for these unions.
The following are the state’s union dues payments in 2008 and 2009.
|Union||2008 dues||2009 dues||Change|
|MI St. Employ. Assn/AFSCME Local 5||$2,187,813.60||$2,237,746.82||+$49,933.22|
|UAW Local 6000||$5,838,655.20||$6,053,182.92||+$214,527.72|
|MI Corrections Org./SEIU 526M||$4,959,645.28||$4,840,725.89||-$118,919.39|
|MI St. Police Troopers Assn.||$1,125,395.91||$1,182,965.34||+$57,569.43|
|AFSCME Council 25||$1,050,559.04||$1,056,008.47||+$5,449.43|