Robert Haynes at home with his children during WJBK FOX 2 Detroit’s feature coverage.
Patricia Haynes are like most parents in many ways. They care deeply for their
children and keep a close eye on expenses while trying to provide what their
son and daughter need. The Hayneses are unlike most parents, however, in other
ways. Their adult children both suffer from cerebral palsy. “They are basically
6-month-olds in adult bodies,” Robert Haynes explains. And they were forced
into a union against their will.
Rather than institutionalize their children, Robert and
Patricia care for them at home. They receive a Medicaid stipend to do so, and
that, in the eyes of the state, makes them public employees. About $30 a month
in “union dues” is deducted from their checks and funneled to the Service
Employees International Union.
This scheme was reported by Jack Spencer in Michigan
Capitol Confidential in early November, including an interview with Robert and Patricia on Nov. 9.
“We’re just parents taking care of our kids,” Robert told
CapCon. “We sure could use that $30 a month that’s being sent to the union.”
Robert told Fox Business News that calls to legislators
for help have gone unheeded. The only help the family has received came from
the Mackinac Center, he said. During the interview, Robert specifically
mentioned Spencer and Patrick Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal
“Most of the issues I’ve written about have been about
disagreements over policy,” Spencer said. “Forced unionization is not a
question of policy, it’s an example of corruption. That’s why it was
particularly heartening to see the strong response our article featuring the
Haynes family received. This issue needs to be placed before the eyes of as
many people as possible. Once the public fully understands the dishonesty and
sheer audacity of what occurred, their response will make sure that the forced
unionization comes to an end.”
The day after Spencer’s story broke, The Washington Examiner reported on
it, opening the floodgates. The Haynes family was featured twice on Fox
Business News, and the story was soon drawing national attention, including
mentions on Rush Limbaugh, National Review Online, The Weekly Standard, The
Blaze, FrontPage Magazine, Townhall and Hot Air. An editorial in The Detroit
News on Nov. 12 compared the situation to a similar scheme involving the
illegal unionization of home-based day care operators in Michigan, which came
to an end last March after an 18-month legal battle spearheaded by the MCLF. It
was also the lead story on the 11 p.m. news Nov. 15 on WJBK in Detroit.