News Story

E-mails Reveal Child Care Union All About the Money

The organization set up as the employer of 40,000 home-based day care workers, some of whom were unionized without their knowledge, was a union-driven experiment without legal or administrative precedence that had the support of the state's Executive Office, according to a batch of e-mails involving union members and the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council.

One e-mail suggests that the MHBCCC's true role was to act as a shell corporation simply charged with moving money from the Department of Human Services to employee unions.

The e-mails, included in a Freedom of Information request by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, reveal a terse discussion between the employee unions and members of the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council over the handling of union dues collected.

In a convoluted set up, the Michigan Department of Human Services and Mott Community College got together to create the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council (MHBCCC) as the employer of home-based day care workers. The state says there are as many as 70,000 home-based day care workers. Those that collect money from the state for low-income clients are included in the union. The MHBCCC negotiates with the day care union Child Care Providers Together Michigan. The MHBCCC collected $2.5 million in union dues in 2009, according to its financial statement.

The Mackinac Center filed a lawsuit against the Department of Human Services after some day care providers complained that they were unionized against their will.

The most revealing e-mails are from Nick Ciaramitaro, director of legislation and public policy for AFSCME Council 25.

His e-mails suggest that the MHBCCC's true role was not to improve day care conditions but to facilitate union negotiations and the transfer of money from the Department of Human Services to unions.

In a Sept. 13 e-mail, Ciaramitaro wrote about the MHBCCC: "In many ways, this is an experiment with little guidance from statute and virtually no administrative or judicial precedent to follow. ... The Interlocal Agreement came about at the recommendation of Michigan AFSCME and the UAW with the support of the Executive Office."

In a Sept. 11 e-mail, Ciaramitaro discussed a dispute over dues collection: "We can't quite understand how an overpayment could occur as we were of the opinion that the MHBCCC was basically simply transferring money received from the Department."

Ciaramitaro didn't immediately respond to requests from comment sent to his home and work e-mails.


To view the emails, click here.


Other news about this issue:

The Michigan Zombie Child Care Council

Connecting the Day Care Union Dots

State Reps Joining Day Care Union Case

Stealth Unionization: Action and Inaction

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.