News Story

Mystery Contribution Kept ‘Dues Skim’ Alive

Union gave dummy employee $12,000, but that money not specified on federal report

The union that no longer represents home-based caregivers filed its 2012 financial disclosure reports with the federal government, but $12,000 that was used to keep the scheme alive for an extra 17 months is not included on the report.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, filed its LM-2 report with the U.S. Department of Labor and details how it spent some of the money it received. What's missing is a line item that specifies that the SEIU gave $12,000 to the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3).

That's significant because the MQC3, the dummy employer used by the union to keep its forced unionization of home-based caregivers alive, had been previously defunded by the state government and thus would have been unable to keep facilitating the union's scheme.

From 2006 until March 31, 2013, the SEIU took more than $34 million from home-based caregivers in Michigan in a unionization scheme orchestrated when Jennifer Granholm was governor. By way of a mail-in election, the SEIU said it got enough votes to unionize tens of thousands of people, most of whom were taking care of family and friends in their own homes.

After the MQC3 was defunded, it was believed the scheme would end on Oct. 1, 2011. Instead, the MQC3 continued to exist, operating out of the home of its executive director Susan Steinke. At the time, Steinke could only work five hours a month to stay eligible for unemployment.

According to MQC3 email records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, the MQC3 received $12,000 from the SEIU in early 2012. Due to that payment, the MQC3 survived several more months, which allowed the union to keep receiving the dues. By midsummer 2012 other funding for MQC3 apparently had been lined up.

Michigan Capitol Confidential viewed the SEIU Healthcare Michigan LM-2 report to try to find out how the union had categorized the $12,000 payment. The report includes $76,811 in unidentified disbursements under the heading of "contributions, gifts and grants." It's possible the payment was part of that unspecified total.

The report itemized $78,997 with the payees named. There was no itemization for another $16,009 in disbursements.

It is possible the $12,000 paid to keep MQC3 going came from another SEIU affiliate or SEIU international headquarters in Washington, D.C.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan's LM-2 report listed $18,929,050 in receipts for 2012. Of that, $11,307,314 came from dues and fees. The report shows that the union spent more than the total of its receipts. Its disbursements totaled $20,376,849.

The forced unionization officially, and finally, ended April 1.

Zac Altefogt, communications director of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, did not respond to a request for comment.

*Readers note: Initially it was believed the $12,000 payment was made in late 2011 and should therefore have been in the union's 2011 LM-2 report. Further examination and additional information obtained through a FOIA request showed that was inaccurate. The payment was made in early 2012 and subject to the union's 2012 disclosure requirements.

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.