Union Sees Membership Plummet After Mandatory Dues Abolished

Wednesday, 30 Apr 2014 10:56 PM

By Cathy Burke

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More than 80 percent of workers who care for the home-bound elderly and disabled in Michigan have ditched the Service Employees International Union since it was banned from taking mandatory dues out of assistance checks, a report said Wednesday.

The "dues skim" ended in 2013, but not before the SEIU took more than $34 million from the Medicaid checks of the workers' patients, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy reported Wednesday.

Most of the workers were relatives or friends of their home-bound patients, the Center noted.

According to the union's filing with the federal Department of Labor, 44,347 home-based caregivers have rejected union membership -- "virtually all of the long-term home-based caregivers affected by the dues skim," the Center reported.

"It also is more than 80 percent of the 55,265 members the union claimed to have at the end on 2012."

Ted O'Neil, a spokesman for the Mackinac Center, told the Daily Caller plummeting SEIU membership is a sign that forced unionization of home healthcare workers wasn't what they wanted.

"All 44,000 of those caregivers who were originally forced into the union are free to go back and join," he told The Daily Caller. "It's very telling of what worker freedom means to people."

The dues-skimming scheme was set up in 2006, after the SEIU identified home-based healthcare workers as a potential revenue source, the Center reported; the workers were mailed union election ballots. But the Center noted some workers never got the ballots and were unaware of what happened.

The scheme was exposed by the Mackinac Center and abolished after Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm left office.

The Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has filed legal action to get back some of the dues; the case is pending, the Center said.

Michigan passed right-to-work legislation in 2012, ending mandatory unionization.

"Not only does this show that the stealth unionization that led to the SEIU dues skim was wrong, but it also calls attention to just how important right-to-work is for Michigan," O'Neil said.

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