SEIU picking pockets of families of disabled in Michigan
posted at 3:05 pm on November 11, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Everyone knows that the unions have lost ground over the last few decades in the private sector, but maintain a grip on the public sector, where they exercise a great deal of control of public policy. They hope to use that to expand their ranks, usually through expansion of government on all levels. When that fails, though, they’re willing to just change the definition of “employee” in order to expand their collection of dues. The Washington Examiner reveals today just how far they will go to grab money — in this case, from the families of the disabled on Medicaid:
If you’re a parent who accepts Medicaid payments from the State of Michigan to help support your mentally-disabled adult children, you qualify as a state employee for the purposes of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They can now claim and receive a portion of your Medicaid in the form of union dues.
Robert and Patricia Haynes live in Michigan with their two adult children, who have cerebral palsy. The state government provides the family with insurance through Medicaid, but also treats them as caregivers. For the SEIU, this makes them public employees and thus members of the union, which receives $30 out of the family’s monthly Medicaid subsidy. The Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) deducts union dues on behalf of SEIU.
Michigan Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo explained the process in to her 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 emailobtained by the Mackinac Center. Initiated in 2006 under then-Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., the plan reportedly provides the SEIU with $6 million annually in union dues deducted from those Medicaid subsidies.
And here I thought the push to force Minnesota babysitters to unionize was the most ridiculous Big Labor story this year. This is just ghoulish. The SEIU is preying on families who already don’t have excess resources to deal with the health-related issues of their family.
It’s important to remember that Medicaid is a safety-net program specifically for the poor. This is basically a tax on the poverty-stricken in Michigan to support the unions and add to their political influence. The union provides these families with no assistance, no benefits, and no real representation of any kind — but Michigan deducts that $30 every month regardless, without their consent, and without a single organizing election.
Speaking of babysitters, it turns out that the previous Democratic administration did the same thing in Michigan that Democrats and unions want to do in Minnesota. Fortunately, the new Republican administration took the hand of Big Labor out of day-care workers:
Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., already ended a similar scheme to provide unions with new “public employees” in the area of child care. His predecessor, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, D-Mich., had classified in-home daycare providers as public employees — a designation that forced them to pay union dues but conferred no other benefits upon them. Snyder’s director of the Department of Human Services 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.
Michigan’s state Senate has thus far refused to act on a House bill to end the union theft from Medicaid recipients. One has to wonder why Democrats in Michigan, and their public-employee union allies, hate the poor.