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.