News Story

Health Care Unionization Campaign Changes Its Story — Again

Ballot proposal avoids the one issue it is about: Money for the SEIU

The “Keep Home Care Safe” proposal campaign has made another tactical change. Its website no longer makes the claim that passing the proposal would create the Home Help Program.

Its new claim is that the proposal is needed to safeguard those who participate in the federally created Home Help Program, which allows elderly and disabled people to receive care in their home instead of having to move into a nursing home. It was created in 1981.

Backers of Proposal 4 as the ballot measure is now known, want voters to believe that the state constitution is an appropriate place to establish a registry of providers who have had background checks. What ballot backers don't want voters to know is that such a registry already was created, but it was a flop.

In more than six and half years since the Service Employees International Union created a scheme to organize 44,000 home health care workers, the registry gathered only 933 names.

That's not a surprise because the vast majority of those in the Home Help Program never hire an outside caregiver. It's estimated that about 75 percent to 80 percent of the program participants are family members or friends taking care of disabled loved ones. They have no need for background checks.

The SEIU to date has taken more than $31 million from Medicaid checks that should be used to help the disabled and elderly in Michigan.

What Proposal 4 would actually do is lock the forced unionization of the program participants into the state constitution. The SEIU, which has been financing the ballot initiative, is battling a state law that ends the forced unionization scheme.

"This proposal is about one thing and one thing only — the SEIU is attempting to hijack the constitution to force residents into unions against their own will while fleecing them to fatten the union’s wallet," said Nick De Leeuw, spokesman for Citizens Protecting Michigan's Constitution. "For the sake of Michigan seniors and infirm residents whose health often times literally depends on the money being stolen from them, it's time we tell the SEIU 'No, hands off our constitution.' "

To collect enough signatures to put the proposal on the ballot, Proposal 4 campaign backers claimed the proposal would create the Home Help Program. In doing this, it took advantage of the fact that many Michigan voters were unaware that such a program already existed. Ballot proposal backers continued with that story until recently switching to its new message involving the registry.

No one has opposed having a registry, but it was defunded by the legislature as one of many efforts to end the forced unionization of workers. The SEIU then provided money to operate a dummy employer needed to help in the scheme and employed an "executive director" who worked less than three hours a month from her home so she could continue to collect unemployment benefits. She previously ran the registry.

With this in mind, clearly coordination and maintenance of the registry could be done by one or two state employees as part of their existing jobs.

Officials from the Proposal 4 campaign and SEIU officials did not respond to requests for 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.