Proposal 4 Would Lock Forced Unionization of Home-Based Caregivers Into Michigan Constitution

Center attorney: ‘Dubious arrangement pursued for the sole purpose of allowing the SEIU to pad its political coffers’

For Immediate Release
Monday, Oct. 8, 2012

Derk Wilcox, Senior Attorney or
Ted O'Neil, Media Relations Manager

MIDLAND — If Proposal 4 passes on Nov. 6, the forced unionization of tens of thousands of home-based caregivers in Michigan would be locked into the state constitution, allowing the Service Employees International Union to continue skimming millions of dollars in dues from Medicaid stipends meant to help Michigan’s most vulnerable residents, according to a new study by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

“There are no new services or cost savings for the disabled included in this proposal, only the legalization of a dubious arrangement that forced private citizens into a government union,” said Senior Attorney Derk Wilcox, the author of the study. “This proposed ‘collective bargaining’ is bargaining in name only, and pursued for the sole purpose of allowing the SEIU to pad its political coffers.”

A line-by-line review of Proposal 4 shows that it would not provide any programs or services to in-home care recipients that are not already available, including any improved care, new options for care recipients or taxpayer cost savings.

“If the proposal’s backers truly wanted to provide services such as training, a registry and background checks for these caregivers, they would have delinked it from the unionization issue,” Wilcox said. “They did not, and it has turned out to be a poison pill. The Legislature saw through this scheme and voted to defund the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, which was only created for the purpose of this unionization, and further voted to clarify that these caregivers are not state employees.”

The MQC3 was created in 2004 under the Granholm administration through an interlocal agreement between the Department of Community Health and the Tri-County Aging Consortium. An SEIU attorney certified that the shell corporation was the employer of the home-based caregivers at the time. The Michigan Bureau of Employment Relations then sent ballots to about 41,000 of these people, but fewer than 20 percent were returned.

“This scheme has so many layers, it’s bound to confuse the voters,” Wilcox said. “The fact the SEIU gave the MQC3 $12,000 after the state cut off its funding should be enough to raise red flags for everyone. A union giving the so-called employer money so it can stay afloat in order to sign a contract extension just doesn’t pass the smell test.

“But we’ve seen Big Labor try to pull this scam before, as they did with the forced unionization of home-based day care providers,” Wilcox added. “They succeeded with that one for a few years, but eventually the state put an end to that money grab.”

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation last month also asked the Michigan Employment Relations Commission for a declaratory ruling to reverse MERC’s 2005 ruling that allowed the forced unionization of these home-based caregivers.

For more information on this and other ballot proposals, please see