News Story

Senate Shows Support For Ending Home Health Care 'Dues Skim'

All but four Republican state Senators are on record supporting legislation designed to stop the “home health care dues skim.” That represents more than enough votes to pass such a measure if Senate leadership allows a vote to take place.

However, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, is among the four Republicans who has not put himself on the record as being in support of stopping the “skim.” The other three are Senate Appropriations Chair Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, Sen. Mike Nofs, R-Battle Creek, and Sen. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights.

On Wednesday, March 14, Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, introduced Senate Bill 1018. The measure mirrors House Bill 4003, which was designed to stop the “skim” and prevent future forced unionizations. Co-sponsoring Hildenbrand's bill are 21 Senate Republicans. Only 20 votes are needed to pass legislation in the Senate.

This should mean there are now 22 GOP Senators leaning toward voting “yes' on HB 4003 and sending it to the Governor. However, they can't vote for the bill if Sen. Richardville refuses to put it up for a vote.

Sen. Hildenbrand sponsored the duplicate bill to demonstrate that he and a majority of his Republican colleagues want HB 4003 to be addressed. It's difficult to imagine a caucus sending a stronger public signal to its leader. 

“I feel very strongly that we have to move on this legislation,” Sen. Hildenbrand told Capitol Confidential. “I put in my own bill, which was the same as House Bill 4003 and asked for co-sponsors to show there is a lot of support for addressing this issue.

“We do have some outstanding questions on this that we need to address,” he added. “We need to get those questions answered and then get the bill moving.”

In 2005, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) targeted dollars that taxpayers provide to help so-called “home health care workers.” These “workers” were those who cared for homebound patients who would otherwise need to be in nursing homes.

A scheme, involving a dummy employer and a stealth election, was used to manipulate the 43,729 so-called “home health care workers” into the SEIU. The vast majority of the 43,729 were relatives or friends of those to whom that give care. Once these people were unionized, SEIU began collecting dues from their checks. The continuation of this dues flow is called the “home health care dues skim.”

HB 4003 was passed by the House last June. In December, the bill was approved by the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Government Committee with every Republican member voting yes. Nearly three months have gone by without Sen. Richardville bringing up the bill up on the Senate floor for a final vote.

Meanwhile, it's now known that the number of so-called home healthcare workers has swollen to 60,190. SEIU coffers have been enriched by more than $29 million since 2005 and the dues continue to flow into those coffers. SEIU could spend this money on anything it chooses, including the over-reaching union-backed anti-right-to-work petition drive.

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.