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Commentary: Proposal 4 Excludes Caregivers From Getting State Employee Benefits

SEIU wants forced unionization locked into state constitution but only to take money from caregivers

The Service Employees International Union and supporters of Proposal 4, which would lock the forced unionization of home-based caregivers into the state constitution, have little concern for the well-being of the people the union represents.

Don’t take my word for it. Read the language of the proposed constitutional amendment that the SEIU and its followers wrote themselves:

“Participant-employed providers governed by this Section shall have the same rights relating to collective bargaining with the Council as are otherwise provided by law to public employees … But such providers shall not, as a consequence of this Section, be considered State employees for any other purpose, nor be entitled to any other legal benefit reserved to such employees.” (emphasis added)

In other words, home-based caregivers will be “state employees” only for the purpose of the SEIU taking money from them. They are not eligible to get the health care or retirement benefits that other state employees enjoy.

The SEIU will not bargain on the workers’ behalf. The dummy agency it wants to rename will make suggestions to the legislature, which allocates how the Medicaid money is paid, but the union has no ability to help these workers or the people who are being taken care of.

Proposal 4 is a money grab, plain and simple. Since 2005, the SEIU has taken more than $32 million from the elderly and disabled in Michigan in a scheme it orchestrated when Jennifer Granholm was governor. The union will continue to take about $6 million a year from the state's most vulnerable residents if Proposal 4 passes.

Gov. Rick Snyder signed a law earlier this year that said home-based caregivers were not state employees and therefore not eligible for unionization. The SEIU took the issue to federal court and was allowed to continue taking the money.

But it will all end in February if Proposal 4 fails.

Fearing that possibility and seeing that nearly every major media outlet in Michigan has denounced this proposal, supporters of the unionization scheme are hitting the airwaves to try and divert attention from the real purpose of the ballot initiative.

Scott Heinzman, chairman of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, which is the organization that will be renamed if the plan passes, has done a couple of radio interviews recently. He says unionization is needed to protect the workers and that they have benefited from being part of the SEIU. He promises that training and other benefits will follow.

“I didn’t get health care from them (the SEIU), I didn’t get any benefit from them,” Geri Milliron, who with her husband, Ron, take care of her 35-year-old quadriplegic son, told me this week. “The SEIU doesn’t have any idea of what it takes to care for a disabled child.”

In fact, the SEIU purposefully wants to exclude home-based caregivers from getting health care and retirement benefits.

 That’s not my interpretation of Proposal 4; it’s the language written by the union itself.