News Story

Attorney General Orders State To Stop SEIU 'Dues Skim'

When the Service Employees International Union convention begins Monday in Colorado, there will be some bad news from its leaders out of Michigan.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette released a letter Friday that mandated that state agencies were to end the withholding of SEIU dues from private individuals who provide home health care.

"Private individuals do not transform into public employees simply by participating in taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid," he said in the letter. "In order to comply with the law, state agencies should end the withholding of public union dues from private individuals who provide home help."

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a bill in April that was to have ended the taking of money but it continued. More than $30.3 million has been skimmed from home health care workers since late 2006. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy estimates more than $687,000 has been skimmed since Gov. Snyder signed the bill last month.

The $687,000 the union has skimmed is more than the $560,068 the union has given to Democratic politicians in the 2012 election cycle.  

The SEIU hasn’t given any money to Republicans.

The skimmed $687,000 would also cover the total compensation of Eileen Kirlin, international executive vice president of the SEIU who made $222,876 in 2010, and SEIU president Mary Kay Henry, whose total compensation was $305,309 in 2010.

The $687,000 also represents about 15 percent of the $4.7 million in total revenue in 2010 of the Michigan chapter of SEIU Local 517.

Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst with the Mackinac Center, said the SEIU could file a lawsuit in federal court claiming they are owed money by either the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, which was the dummy employer set up to help facilitate the scheme, or the state’s Department of Community Health.

It’s unclear how valid a legal claim the SEIU would have since a state law and now the Attorney General’s opinion are not on their side.

Local and national SEIU officials didn’t return emails seeking comment.

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.