For Immediate Release
Monday, Oct. 12, 2009
Contact: Patrick J. Wright
Senior Legal Analyst
MIDLAND — The state's response to a Mackinac
Center Legal Foundation lawsuit against the
Department of Human Services and its director shows that the agency is
currently unwilling to defend its practice of collecting "union dues" from
home-based day care center owners, Legal Foundation Director Patrick Wright
"The defendants' response shows that they lack the courage of their convictions," said Wright, who filed the suit Sept. 16, 2009, on behalf of two day care providers.
"Instead of defending their unconstitutional actions or attempting to justify
the violations of our clients' rights, the agency is attempting to have the
case dismissed on procedural grounds. Their motion says nothing about
whether it was proper for the agency to deduct union dues from subsidy checks that provide day care assistance to
"Child Care Providers Together Michigan" was certified as
representative of child care providers who serve families that receive state
subsidies for child care, and in 2009, the DHS began diverting "union
dues" from the providers' subsidy checks to the union. The Mackinac Center
Legal Foundation, a newly formed public interest law firm, filed suit in the Michigan Court of Appeals on behalf of two
home-based child care providers, Sherry Loar and Dawn Ives, both of Petoskey.
Some of the children cared for by Loar and Ives are covered by the state
child care subsidies, but most are not.
One consequence of
the DHS's actions is that $3.7 million of state child care
funds are annually transferred to CCPTM in the form of union dues. The
lawsuit seeks to block the collection of union dues from Loar and Ives on the
grounds that they are not state employees, but rather independent business
owners who are not subject to unionization.
"DHS's decision to
allow unionization of independent business owners through an interlocal
agreement with Mott
Community College really
is the key dispute of this whole case, and the agency has yet to
explain how what it did was legal. We expect that the court will not find
any procedural faults and that this case will proceed to the merits."
The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation's response to the motion to dismiss in the case, Loar
vs. DHS, is due by Oct. 28, 2009.