'Dues skim' contributes to higher union funding
Membership in the union that makes millions of dollars from the “home health care dues skim” keeps dropping; but the amount of money it rakes in keeps going up.
Dues from Michigan's so-called “home health care workers” is sent to Healthcare Michigan; an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Healthcare Michigan filed its annual (LM-2) disclosure report with the Office of Labor Management Standards on March 30. Comparing that to previous reports, shows a trend of lower membership but higher dues profits.
In 2008, the earliest year LM-2s for the Healthcare Michigan union are accessible, the union reported bringing in $10,497,917. In 2009 it reported bringing in $10,871,288. In 2010 the union reported bringing in $11,508,410 in dues and fees and in 2011 it reported bringing in $11,974,800.
Meanwhile, the LM-2 reports show that Healthcare Michigan reported having less members each year than in the previous year. For 2008 it reported having 57,588; in 2009 it reported having 57,239; in 2010 it reported 56,972; and in 2011 it reported 55,395.
During the administration of former Governor Jennifer Granholm, the SEIU targeted the Medicaid checks provided by taxpayers to pay for the care given by so-called “home health care workers. A scheme that used a dummy employer, a stealth election and keeping the news media in the dark, successfully manipulated 43,729 so-called “home health care workers” into the union. The "dues skim" officially ended yesterday when Gov. Snyder signed Senate Bill 1018.
Once the unionization had taken place, union dues started being taken from the Medicaid checks. The continuation of this dues flow is called the “home health care dues skim.” The union netted nearly $30 million from the “skim" before it was ended.
Meanwhile, the union has started a petition drive to try and lock the “skim” into the state constitution through a ballot proposal.
Only part of the $11,974,800 in dues and fees reported by the union for 2011 came from the “skim.” Healthcare Michigan has roughly 10,000 members who aren't so-called “home health care workers.” These “other members” work at nursing homes, hospitals and other medical facilities across the state. Unlike the so-called home health care workers, they were apparently legitimately unionized.
However, disclosures in the union's LM-2 reports over the past four years show two opposite membership trends. The number of medical facility workers in the union declined each year, while the number of so-called “home health care workers” increased. Healthcare Michigan reported having 42,127 “home health care workers” for 2008; 43,451 for 2009, 44,337 for 2010 and 44,844 for 2011.
The number of alleged “home health care workers” reported by the union are lower than figures obtained by Capitol Confidential from the State. In fact the numbers reported by the union in its 2008 and 2009 reports were lower than the 43,729 so-called “home health care workers” subjected to forced unionization in the 2005 scheme.
A possible explanation for the difference is that many so-called “home health care workers” enter and leave the system frequently. The 56,442 figure provided by the Department of Human Services (DHS) earlier this year, and the follow-up number of 60,190, could represent the total numbers of “workers” who had dues taken out their checks at various times. Meanwhile, the figures reported by the union (if accurate) likely represent how many were in the system at a single “snapshot” moment.
It's unclear how the union managed to bring in more money from dues and fees each of the past four years while its medical facility membership and overall membership was declining. However, Healthcare Michigan members who are medical facility workers have been complaining of large dues rate increases.
Healthcare Michigan has entered “NA” (not available) on the “dues and fee rate” section of its LM-2 reports for 2010 and 2011.
Other figures disclosed by Healthcare Michigan in the LM-2 reports reveal increases in the amount of money the union takes in and spends.The following are examples:
- Total receipts in 2010 - $16,465,288.
- Total receipts in 2011 - $21,523,734.
- Total disbursements in 2010 - $16,841,063.
- Total disbursements in 2011 - $19,476,147
- Disbursements for political activities and lobbying in 2010 - $474,340.
- Disbursements for political activities and lobbying in 2011- $1,636,148
Zachary Altefogt, director of communications for SEIU Healthcare Michigan, did not respond to a phone call offering him a chance to respond to this article.