Michigan No Longer Skimming Money from Home Caregivers for Labor Union

Published March 1, 2013

The Service Employees International Union is no longer able to claim millions of dollars annually from family caregivers in Michigan.

In 2005, under the administration of Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), the SEIU won the power to force home-based caregivers to pay dues to the union. Nearly one year ago Gov. Rick Snyder (R) signed a law that ended the designation of these home caregivers as government employees.

The contract between the union and the dummy employer that was created for the scheme officially ended February 28.

$34M Taken from Disabled Persons

During those seven years, more than $34 million were skimmed from Medicaid checks that were intended to assist developmentally disabled adults and their families and sent to the SEIU.

“It has been a long, winding and courageous battle,” said Pat Wright, senior legal analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, in a statement. “I’m glad to see that justice is finally being reached.”

An agreement between the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Tri-County Aging Consortium allowed for the creation of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, which served as the “employer” for what were really self-employed independent contractors or, overwhelmingly, family members caring for loved ones.

Never Knew of Union Vote

The Council was really just a shell organization that enabled the SEIU to conduct a union representation vote in 2007. Out of the 44,000 home health care providers in Michigan at the time, only 7,900 voted, and 6,900 cast ballots for the union. Many home caregivers later said they never knew a vote was taking place. They nonetheless were forced into the union.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed a legal action with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to try to get about $3 million returned to home-based caregivers. That case is ongoing.