Pennies on the Dollar

(Editor's Note: Attorney General Bill Schuette ordered on May 26 that state agencies stop withholding money from home health care worker checks and handing it over to the SEIU as union dues, thus ending a union scheme that took more than $30 million from workers.)

Let’s start with the obvious. A government-employee union exists to represent employees in the collective bargaining process with a government employer.

Except in the case of home health care providers in Michigan. In this highly unusual scenario, the Service Employees International Union gets its dues not from State of Michigan paychecks but from Medicaid payments issued to people who are often providing care to an ailing family member in their own home. Since late 2006, the SEIU has skimmed more than $30 million from taxpayers and the welfare state in this fashion.

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Weirder yet, the Michigan Quality Community Care Council — the “public employer” that was created to facilitate this peculiar unionization — does not receive public funds, denies that it is an employer, operates out of an unemployed woman’s basement and receives thousands of dollars from the SEIU to maintain its quasi functions. (Check out Jack Spencer’s blockbuster story on this today:

A number of these elements are troubling — some are even illegal — but what seems truly unprecedented is that a union is writing sizable checks to the employer of the people the union claims to represent. One might conclude that since the Legislature cut off public funds to the faux employer, the union is willing to part with thousands of dollars in order to maintain an arrangement that allows it to coerce millions.

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