Melissa and Kevin Haynes were born with hypertonic cerebral palsy, a severe disability that impaired their cognitive development, leaving them functioning as infants. For more than 30 years, their devoted parents, Robert and Patricia, have cared for them in their home in Macomb Township, Mich. The two disabled adults received Medicaid checks each month, money that went toward their care. But in 2006, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) began collecting 2.75 percent from each of these checks, claiming that Robert and Patricia were employees — not only of their own children but also of the Michigan state government.
Michigan’s legislature voted in 2012 to put an end to this so-called dues-skimming practice, which the SEIU used to collect more than $34 million from the state’s disabled and elderly residents. The new law took effect in 2013 after a legal challenge had caused a year’s delay. Around the same time, right-to-work legislation ended compulsory union membership.
The result: In the last year, union membership in SEIU’s Healthcare Michigan has plummeted by an astounding 80 percent.
“Most of the time, these ‘caregivers’ and ‘providers’ were family members,” says Patrick Wright, the director of the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, which represented the Haynes family. “The providers didn’t want this. The union did. And it took money away from needy people.”
The specific figures show just how much ex-Governor and lefty hack Jennifer Granholm inflated SEIU membership.
According to the union’s LM-2 report filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, 44,347 home-based caregivers have opted to stay out of the union.
That number represents virtually all of the long-term home-based caregivers affected by the dues skim. It also is more than 80 percent of the 55,265 members the union claimed to have at the end on 2012. Most of those who have remained in the union are workers employed at private medical facilities and joined the union in traditional organizing drives. The SEIU health care workers were organized in a mail-in effort that most did not participate in nor did they know a vote was even taking place.
In the mid-2000s, the Service Employees International Union targeted the assistance checks of Michigan participants in the federal Home Help Program as a potential revenue source. The Home Help Program, which began in the 1980s, allows the elderly and disabled to be cared for in their homes instead of being put in nursing homes or long-term care facilities. A majority of the caregivers in the program are family members or friends who take care of loved ones.
During those years, the SEIU Healthcare Michigan boasted that it was the fastest growing union in the state. However, according to the union’s LM-2 report, its membership has fallen to 10,918 since the home-based caregivers were freed from the forced unionization on March 1, 2013.
When liberals talk about how much they care about people, this is how much they care. And this story needed to go nationwide. It’s a story that Romney could have run on to counteract the 47 attacks. It’s a story Republicans can still run on today to counteract the Koch Brothers stuff.
This is what the class warriors do to people when they get the chance.
In addition, the SEIU, the international union behind the SEIU Healthcare Michigan, was fined almost $200,000 for concealing that it bankrolled Proposal 4 of 2012 — the failed ballot effort to lock the forced unionization of home-based caregivers into the state constitution. According to state officials, the penalty the SEIU was assessed for the campaign finance violations was the second largest in Michigan history.
Luvanda Linebarger, a union steward at Detroit Medical Center, home-based caregivers don’t belong in the union.
“Is home care needed? Yes it is needed,” Linebarger said. “Should they belong to a union? This union? No. They don’t benefit.”
Linebarger and two other union stewards, Tyrone Freeman and Clara Leavell, were at the SEIU Healthcare Michigan headquarters Tuesday demonstrating against the union’s current leadership — particularly its president, Marge Faville.
Despite that, Michigan media outlets repeatedly lied about Proposition 4 claiming that it was there to protect the elderly through background checks.