News Story

Better Late Than Never: An End To the 'Dues Skim'

What can $29 million buy?

Robert and Patricia Haynes were caught up in the SEIU 'dues skim'

One can’t underestimate the power of the action Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, and his colleagues made last week with the passage of a Senate bill that aims to stop the taking of money from unsuspecting home health care workers in Michigan.

More than $29 million has been skimmed off the top of home health care worker paychecks since the Service Employees International Union pushed a unionization drive on them through a series of intricate and suspect dealings that took place under the governorship of Jennifer Granholm.

Think about that. With $29 million you could buy Michael Jordan’s suburban Chicago mansion. You could fly first-class to Rome at least 4,758 times.

Or you could line the pockets of union bosses for almost four years.

The Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill in June that would have ended the scam. It made its way to the state Senate where it was passed out of the Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee but languished because Senate leadership didn’t put it up for a vote.

In the nine-plus months the bill sat idle in the Senate, more than $4 million was taken from home health care workers.

Think about that. With $4 million you could buy premium single-game seats at Comerica Park for 47,058 games (553 years); or the most premium game suite at Ford Field at least 266 times (33 years).

Or you could line the pockets of union bosses.

Majority State Senate Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe, on Thursday finally put the bill up for a vote — and then voted to stop the scam, saying he did so because he now realizes that the “vast majority” involved were relatives and friends caring for loved ones.

Better late than never.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw, who received $5,000 from the SEIU on the day in June that the House bill was sent to the Senate, still voted with the SEIU — the lone Republican to side with the union.

The newly passed Senate bill will go to the House where it surely will pass given that it originally came from that chamber.

Then it’s on to the governor.

The unions, predictably, are screaming and talking about suing. Perhaps doing so will shed some light on the dirty practices that have taken place.

This isn’t the first unionization scam to happen. Remember the daycare workers who were “unionized” also when Gov. Granholm was at the helm of Michigan? Gov. Snyder stopped that in its tracks.

If the unions were delivering a service that was worthy of the dues they charge, they wouldn’t have to organize workers surreptitiously. If union services were so fantastic for workers, then workers would line up to join unions. Unions wouldn’t be afraid of letting workers decide not to join. Unions would compete honestly and openly and be proud of the so-called services they deliver.

Instead, millions of dollars are taken from workers by unions that can’t — or won’t — publicly justify their existence or account for the millions they’ve taken from people, including those home health care workers who mostly had no idea they were part of a union.

Thankfully, Michigan Senate leaders finally took this issue seriously and took action.

Let’s hope this kind of scam doesn’t happen again.