Ballot Petition Signatures Submitted in Home Health Aide Scheme

Attempt to grant dues skim constitutional protection is a ‘disgrace’

For Immediate Release
Thursday, July 5, 2012
Contact: Patrick J. Wright
Director, Mackinac Center Legal Foundation

MIDLAND — Supporters of a ballot proposal that would enshrine the SEIU dues skim in the state constitution reportedly submitted enough signatures to the Michigan Department of State today to get the measure before voters in November. The Service Employees International Union since November 2006 has skimmed more than $30 million in the form of “union dues” from Medicaid checks that are meant to help Michigan’s most vulnerable residents.

“This ballot measure is nothing more than a money grab by a powerful political union from some of our neediest citizens,” said Patrick J. Wright, director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation. “Long before the SEIU and the Granholm Administration concocted this scheme, the developmentally disabled were receiving aid that allowed them to be cared for at home. The only thing the so-called unionization of caregivers has done is siphon off millions of dollars of that money.”

A federal judge last month granted the union a preliminary injunction against a new state law that explicitly says people who are paid by the Medicaid subsidy checks — often family members who act as home health aides for their loved ones — cannot be considered public employees and are therefore not subject to forced unionization. The judge’s ruling means the dues skim could continue until at least next February. A lawyer for the SEIU told the judge the union would suffer “irreparable damage” if the dues were to stop flowing, saying the damage would include a loss of use of those funds during the upcoming elections.

“The SEIU has openly admitted to the court that its real agenda is politics,” Wright said. “That should serve as a wake-up call. The money isn’t even being used to collectively bargain with employers, so the people who were shanghaied into this so-called union are being forced to fund the SEIU’s political machine. Since these people were not and are not public employees, every penny taken from them to support union politics is a disgrace.”

For an overview of how this scheme came about, please see this Michigan Capitol Confidential story. For a compilation of the Mackinac Center’s work on this issue, click here.