Jason Gillman over at Right Michigan has stumbled across an interesting piece of internal union business.

In a letter sent out May 24, Executive Director Mel Grieshaber asked Michigan Corrections Organization members to “self-identify” (quotations in original) so that the union could “know more readily who to call to see if you’re available to participate in a targeted effort.” The letter referred to earlier surveys of MCO members, along with union town hall meetings and prison tours. Attached was a form asking members to indicate their political party and strength of partisan loyalty, listing seven categories. MCO Assistant for Government Affairs Jeremy Tripp declined to confirm or deny the authenticity of the letter and the party ID form, both of which can be viewed here.

The MCO’s parent union, the Service Employees International Union, is widely known to be very politically active and radical in its politics. A Mackinac Center survey of the union’s financial reports found sizable contributions to ACORN affiliates, defunct liberal talk radio network Air America, La Raza and the Rainbow-PUSH Coalition. Many of these were categorized as “worker representation” or charitable rather than as political in nature. Like all government employee unions, SEIU draws much of its funding from taxpayers, under the guise of union dues or agency fees that government officials effectively guarantee to unions in collective bargaining agreements.

The interesting and at the same time sobering thing about this is how SEIU leaders see their members through a strictly partisan political lens. The space that the union used to gauge the strength of its members' partisan leanings are (Are you sorta Republican, really Republican, or really, really Republican?) could just as easily been used to find out how worried their members are about losing their pensions in a state bankruptcy, or whether or not work rules negotiated by the union made prisons safer or a host of other questions having to do with what MCO members really want their union to do.

Once again, Michigan’s union establishment really is at bottom a political thing, and taxpayers are paying for it.