Schuette Appeals Court Continued Union Skim
LANSING -Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office announced his office will appeal a recent court ruling requiring the State of Michigan to withhold public employee union dues from the payments issued to home help providers through the Michigan Medicaid program.
"Private individuals do not transform into government employees simply by participating in taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid," said Schuette. "We will fight to defend state law prohibiting the withholding of public union dues from private citizens who provide home help to the disabled."
On May 29, 2012, SEIU Healthcare Michigan filed a lawsuit to challenge 2012 P.A. 76, legislation to amend the Public Employment Relations Act to reflect the original intention of the Legislature to exempt certain private individuals from being forced into public employee unions. And on June 20, 2012 U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Edmunds ruled in favor of SEIU Healthcare Michigan, ordering the State of Michigan to continue collection of union dues from payments processed for Medicaid home help providers under an agreement with the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, a creation of the Granholm administration and the SEIU to steal from the poor and fill union coffers.
This week Schuette filed a motion to request a stay of the Judge's order requiring continued collection of dues while the appeals process proceeds. Schuette will file an appeal of the Edmunds' ruling granting the SEIU's motion preliminary injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit later this month.
Some other history
On May 24, 2012, Schuette's office responded to questions raised by Rep. Paul Opsommer (R-DeWitt) regarding the enforcement of Public Act 76 of 2012, which amended the Public Employment Relations Act to exclude from the definition of public employee those who receive a government subsidy for private employment. The response was in the form of a letter signed by Schuette's Chief Legal Counsel Richard Bandstra which advised the Department of Community Health to discontinue deducting or withholding union dues from the payments processed for Medicaid home help providers.
Senate Bill 1018, sponsored by State Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, amended the Public Employment Relations Act to reflect the original intention of the Legislature. The measure was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder on April 10, 2012, and is Public Act 76. Rep. Paul Opsommer previously sponsored the House version of the legislation, HB 4003.
The need for the law was underscored by a 2005 Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) certification of election results to have SEIU as the home help service workers' exclusive bargaining representative with the Michigan Quality Community Care Council. The union certification was permitted even though home help services workers who receive Medicaid dollars are employed by the private individuals they serve, not the State of Michigan, or any other public employer.
The Mackinac Center has a complete history on this issue with its skim tracker sidebar here.
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