The union responsible for skimming tens of millions of dollars from home caregivers has been placed under an emergency trusteeship to investigate alleged financial malpractice. It‘s just another issue in the ongoing saga surrounding SEIU Healthcare Michigan.
This union is not new to scandals. SEIU Healthcare Michigan secretly unionized tens of thousands of home caregivers, most of whom were taking care of their relatives, in order to, in President Marge Faville's words, ”make sure Democrats get [elected].” The “dues skim” took $34 million of state aid meant for the poor and disabled and was ultimately ended by the Legislature.
But the union didn’t quit: It orchestrated a ballot proposal that would have given them a constitutional right to force private citizens into a government union so it could collect their “dues.” In the process of running this proposal, the union broke campaign finance laws and paid one of the largest fines in Michigan history. The ballot proposal failed 56-44, and after caregivers could no longer be forced to belong to the union, SEIU Healthcare Michigan membership dropped 80 percent.
Real health care workers in Michigan have been breaking away from the SEIU and repeatedly alleging corruption and nepotism on the part of Faville, the union head. One local union of about 200 members split with an almost unanimous vote, claiming SEIU Healthcare Michigan was spending little on bargaining while blowing money on parties and a brand-new SUV for Faville. Members also said the union was paying for her apartment.
There was an attempt to remove Faville from office, but she held the election by mail, which helped her as the incumbent. Union members who worked at hospitals were increasingly upset about the union’s scheme to “fake represent” home caregivers, most of whom did not know they were unionized or received any benefits from the union. The election fight got nasty with allegations of people losing their jobs for opposing Faville. Three different ballots were sent out, and one Middle Eastern union member compared the SEIU Healthcare Michigan election to Bashar Assad getting "elected" again and again in Syria. Ultimately, Faville prevailed and still heads the union today.
Most of the problems mentioned above took place before Michigan became a right-to-work state. So this tale is just another example of the positive side of the worker freedom law: Nobody should be forced to give financial support to an organization as riddled with problems as SEIU Healthcare Michigan.
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