Thursday, Aug. 5, 2010
Contact: Patrick Wright
Director, Mackinac Center Legal Foundation
Michael D. Jahr
Senior Director of Communications
MIDLAND — Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who for more than a year has been nearly silent on her role in the forced unionization of more than 40,000 home day care providers, boasted of her involvement at a national union convention in 2008, Mackinac Center Communications Specialist Kathy Hoekstra reports in a video released today.
"In Michigan, because of the partnership between AFSCME and the governor's office, this means that 45,000 new AFSCME members, quality child care providers, will be on the ground providing care to children," the governor said in a speech at the 38th international convention of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "That is great for our state."
The Center's six-minute video reveals the behind-the-scenes steps taken by the offices of the governor and lieutenant governor to make it possible for these business owners and private contractors to be roped into a public-sector union. Michigan is the only state where home day care workers have been unionized without legislation or an executive order. Instead, the Michigan Department of Human Services and Mott Community College in Flint entered into an interlocal agreement to create a so-called employer for the day care providers.
The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation is suing the Michigan Department of Human Services to stop the agency's diversion of nearly $3 million in union "dues" from providers to union coffers. The money is being taken from subsidy checks that day care owners receive on behalf of low-income parents who need child care while they work or attend school.
"This footage forever ties this scheme to the executive branch," said Patrick Wright, director of the MCLF. "This was not a bureaucratic happenstance. It was a deliberate and strategic choice by the governor, her office and the lieutenant governor. But really, that's unconstitutional overreach, just as we've argued in our lawsuit all along. Only the Legislature has the power to decide which groups of people will be public employees, and it has never said that about these day care owners."
The lawsuit has been appealed to the Michigan Supreme Court, which is considering whether to hear the case.