Having won the right to decide for themselves whether to join unions, Michigan workers are opting to desert an organization that many never wanted to join in the first place: the SEIU.
Michigan voters put an end to forced unionization by approving right-to-work in the 2012 election. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder also signed a bill that ended a fraudulent dues-skimming scheme, perpetrated by the SEIU, which had allowed the union to collect $34 million in mandatory dues out of the Medicaid checks of unknowing home-based caregivers.
No longer obligated to pay money to the SEIU, 80 percent of home-based caregivers have left the union, according to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
That means some 44,000 workers did not wish to be part of the SEIU, when given the choice. (RELATED: This inspirational, disabled family lost its health coverage, and it’s Obamacare’s fault)
Ted O’Neil, media relations manager for the Mackinac Center, said plummeting SEIU membership is a clear sign that the forced unionization of home healthcare workers was never something those people 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. Democratic Governor Jennifer Granholm helped facilitate the process by setting up a by-mail election for union representation for home-based caregivers. Some said they never received ballots and were unaware of what had happened.
The scheme was exposed by the Mackinac Center and abolished by Republicans in the legislature after Granholm left office.
Mackinac is now attempting to force the SEIU to return the money. It has filed a legal action with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission.
The number of workers deserting the SEIU is a testament to the corrective power of right-to-work, which is now law in 24 U.S. states.
“Not only does this show that the stealth unionization that lead to the SEIU dues skim was wrong, but it also calls attention to just how important right-to-work is for Michigan,” said O’Neil.