Tens of thousands of small-business owners in Michigan could be freed from forced unionization if Senate Bill 1173 becomes law.

Some 40,000 home-based child care operators were shanghaied into a union because they receive subsidy payments on behalf of low-income parents. The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Human Services over this very issue.

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According to the Novi Information Network, SB1173 would "clarify that an individual who receives a direct or indirect government subsidy in his or her private employment is not a public employee." The legislation would be retroactive, meaning it would protect the MCLF's clients and thousands like them who are being shorted some $3.7 million annually in "union dues."

The wording of the legislation is important because, as MCLF Director Patrick J. Wright has explained, what was done to the home-based day care owners could also be used to illegally unionize anyone whose clients receive government subsidies, such as doctors, landlords and grocers.

Concurrently, the Legislature is attempting to figure out how the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council, the shell corporation established by DHS and Mott Community College against which the unions organized, is still operating with no funding.

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