Michigan Home Healthcare Workers Sue State Over Forced Unionization

-By Warner Todd Huston

So imagine that you are working out of your home or the home of a friend. Say you are helping care for your own developmentally disabled relative or that of another. You are working for a family, not a company, and you are not employed by the state. Then one day you get a letter in the mail that says you have been forced by the state to join a union and henceforth you will be paying dues by having some of your salary removed by the state and given to the union. Does this sound like you are living and working in America? It is if you are a home healthcare worker in the State of Michigan.

Because of a special deal made behind the scenes between Mich. Gov. Jennifer Granholm and two unions, the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Michigan’s 40,000 in-home healthcare workers were unionized by a shady “vote” of less than 20% of these workers in 2006 via a mail-in ballot that most workers had no idea even existed.

The forced unionization has been in and out of courts since 2006 and now it is about to go back in again as a group of in-home healthcare workers is suing the state for driving them into a union against their will.

The suit has been filed earlier this year by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation on behalf of these workers.

The suit challenges a scheme created by Granholm, Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) officials, and a union front group called “Child Care Providers Together Michigan” (CCPTM) to designate home-care providers who accept state assistance as “state employees” and foist CCPTM union political “representation” on them. CCPTM is an operation run by the United Autoworker (UAW) and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSME) unions.

Under Granholm’s direction, DHS officials created the “Michigan Home Based Child Care Council” to provide the union bosses with an entity to deal with as the “management” of the home child-care providers. Even though only 15 percent of the 40,000 day-care providers voted in the union certification election, the CCPTM union hierarchy was granted monopoly bargaining privileges and political representation of all the home-care providers.

This lawsuit is wending its way through Michigan’s court system still and bears watching because if Granholm’s backroom deal with Big Labor is thrown out this could easily effect similar situations in 16 other states.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s BigGovernment.com, BigHollywood.com, and BigJournalism.com, as well as RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, StoptheACLU.com, AmericanDaily.com, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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