News Story

An End Finally in Sight for the SEIU Dues Skim

Voters overwhelmingly reject the forced unionization scheme

With Proposal 4 soundly defeated, the forced unionization of Michigan's home-based caregivers seems finally to be on its last legs.

The Service Employees International Union backed the constitutional amendment plan that would have locked the unionization scheme into the constitution and preserved the $6 million a year it takes from the Medicaid checks of the elderly and disabled in Michigan.

But the SEIU's scheme should now end in February when the current union contract expires. Proposal 4 lost by a wide margin. Gov. Rick Snyder earlier this year signed a law that home-based caregivers are not state employees and therefore not eligible to be unionized but a federal judge later allowed the scheme to continue.

"Finally, there's a light at the end of the tunnel for those, including family members, who have been seeing union dues taken from the checks they receive to help provide home care," said Patrick Wight, senior legal analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "It will soon stop."

Since 2005, the SEIU has taken more than $32 million from home-based caregivers.

Voters clearly saw that Proposal 4 was about more than safe, affordable home care that Proposal 4 supporters promoted in misleading commercials.

So did Gov. Snyder, who in addition to signing a bill against the scheme, last week named a new slate of members to the Michigan Quality Community Care Council board. In doing so, he ended the dummy employer's longstanding practice of being a rubber stamp for the SEIU.

The primary impact of Snyder's action is that MQC3 will now represent his position on issues that arise instead of the union's position. It should make it highly unlikely that the union will get another contract extension.

In fact, the “dues skim” could actually end sooner than that. In addition to the governor replacing the SEIU-friendly board members, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a legal action, asking that the forced unionization be decertified. That case is being reviewed by the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.

According to the Secretary of State's office, 56 percent of voters said no to Proposal 4, while 44 percent wanted it added to the state constitution.

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.