Union Siphons Dues from Medicaid

Taking money from low-income families who are taking care of their disabled children.

Labor union greed and liberal Democrat corruption go hand in hand again.

The notorious Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is collecting millions of dollars each year from the State of Michigan’s Medicaid program in the form of union dues. It even collects from parents caring for their own mentally-ill children in their own home so the children won’t have to be institutionalized.

The SEIU now can claim and receive union dues from thousands, whether they want to be union members or not, because of a tricky arrangement to pay the union. It was put in place by the former left-wing Democratic governor of the state, Jennifer Granholm.

Robert and Patricia Haynes are particular victims of this odious arrangement. The couple lives in Michigan with their two adult children, who have cerebral palsy. They are eligible for Medicaid, the health program for low-income people and the disabled. The state provides the family with Medicaid insurance. But it also treats them as employed caregivers.

The SEIU erroneously sees the Haynes family as public workers and thereby members of the union. Most government workers in Michigan must join unions. The SEIU, in effect, snatches $30 out of the family's monthly Medicaid payment as dues. A unique agency, the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) acts as a co-conspirator by deducting the union dues on behalf of SEIU before the Medicare payment is made to the family.

Michigan Department of Community Health (DCH) Director Olga Dazzo explained the process in a memorandum to members of her staff.  "MQC3 basically runs the program for SEIU and passes the union dues from the state to the union," she wrote in an email obtained by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Initiated in 2006 under then-Governor Granholm, the plan reportedly provides the SEIU with $6 million annually in union dues deducted from those Medicaid subsidies to home care worker providers.

“We’re not even home health care workers. We’re just parents taking care of our kids,” Robert Haynes, a retired Detroit police officer, told the Mackinac Center for Public Policy:

“Our daughter is 34 and our son is 30. They have cerebral palsy. They are basically like 6-month-olds in adult bodies. They need to be fed and they wear diapers. We could sure use that $30 a month that's being sent to the union.”

The MQC3 calls the families hiring in-home health care providers “employers of providers." These health care providers are also treated as employers of MQC3 when it comes time each month to take dues out of their Medicaid payment and send it to the SEIU.

Mr. and Mrs. Haynes, although they must hand over money to the SEIU every month, say they have no interest in being members of the union. Even though they have been arbitrarily classified as state employees so that the union can nefariously take money from them, the Haynes get no union benefits by being union members.

Gov. Rick Snyder (R-Mich.) has already ended a similar scheme to provide unions with new "public employees" in the area of child care that Granholm had invented to classify in-home daycare providers as public employees (as differentiated from health care providers) and which forced them to pay union dues.

At the time, Snyder's director of the Department of Human Services (DHS) ended that program. "[We] will stop all funding and, because these providers are not state employees, will also cease collecting union dues,” DHS director Maura Corrigan said at the time.

The impending closure of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council should free some 55,000 home care workers (as well as registered nurses, nursing home aides and hospital support staff) from government union membership.

Michigan's State House has already passed a bill to prevent this sort of dues grubbing by public-sector unions, but the legislation has stalled in the state Senate.

Michigan’s teachers union, a member of the American Federation of Teachers, and part of SEIU, last April threatened to close the schools and dramatically charged that cuts in the state budget would mean “the educational future of more than a million Michigan students [will] be sacrificed.”

Andy Stern, before retiring as president of the SEIU, visited the While House on such a regular basis, he almost should have paid rent.

The SEIU announced in Obama’s first campaign that they planned "a budget of $85 million” for the election, targeting swing states for Obama's campaign and, In addition, SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger said, "More than 100,000 SEIU members will be volunteering their time to ... elect Barack Obama as our next president."

Stern was elected president of the SEIU in 1996 and immediately began to steer the union into politics in support of the Democratic Party. He pressured companies into signing agreements to make SEIU their employees’ representative. If a company resisted, it could look forward to media and political allies supporting boycotts and public demonstrations designed at destroying the company’s reputation.

Stern has been a leading figure in the so-called Shadow Party, a national network of leftist unions and activist left-wing organizations campaigning for Democrats and calling for the socialistic ideal of “distributing the wealth.”

In 2008, he was one those demanding part of the “bailout bill” passed to save Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage giants be used to extend unemployment benefits and food stamps. He also has called for “global government.”

Not surprisingly, Stern’s political philosophy has a striking similarity to that of Barack Obama.

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