Last November, TheBlaze’s Madeleine Morgenstern reported on "forced unionization" involving SEIU and the parents of two disabled children. Many of you were outraged. Now it seems those parents weren't alone. And the overall practice is getting more attention as lawyers are getting involved.
Four years ago, Steven Glossop moved in with his mother Linda to care for her after she suffered a stroke while recovering from heart surgery. Her condition requires constant attention and her son, whether at work or elsewhere, makes sure someone (usually his wife) is there to help.
But the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is making life difficult for the Glossops.
"The Glossops, by virtue of getting Medicaid money from the state, are members of the SEIU thanks to a unionization scheme orchestrated in 2005 when Jennifer Granholm was governor," writes Jack Spencer for Michigan Capitol Confidential.
"This whole thing just gets me," said Steven Glossop. "It's hard to believe the union could get away with something like this. They (the union) can’t do anything about things like working conditions. They have no idea what goes on inside our house each day."
"I'd say the biggest effect that being in this union has had on me is them taking money from our checks. To me, it's just thievery," he added.
And the Glossop family is not alone. They are actually one of two families being represented by the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation in a fight over what they say are unfair labor practices.
"The legal action asks the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) to reverse the decision that recognized the forced unionization of those workers nearly seven years ago," Spencer notes.
"It also asks that the money being taken from the Medicaid checks of disabled and elderly people in Michigan be immediately ended and for the return of about six months' worth of dues, or about $3 million," he adds.
The SEIU, according to the MCC report, enacted a "forced unionization" of Michigan's home-based caregivers (i.e. people like Steven Glossop) back in 2005, meaning they get a cut of the Medicaid checks caregivers are given to provide home care.
Want to guess how much the SEIU has taken in as a direct result of this "forced unionization" scheme? Try $32 million.
But wait! There’s more.
Much of that $32 million has been put towards Proposal 4: a proposal that will make the "forced unionization" scheme an official part of the state constitution.
Pretty nifty, right?
"The union is trying to get this in the state constitution because earlier this year Gov, Rick Snyder signed legislation into law that ended the forced unionization. The SEIU later took the issue to federal court and was allowed to continue taking the money," Spencer notes.
And you better believe the SEIU has pushed back against complaints from people like Glossop, arguing that unionization will ensure the elderly and the disabled can stay in their homes and that background checks will make things safer.
Funny thing though, there are already fed programs in place that ensure both of these things.
"Who would I want to have a background check done on?" Steven Glossop said. "I have no need for background checks."
Indeed, according to MCC, an estimated 75 percent of the people enrolled in the Home Help Program are friends or family of the person being taken care of.
"Back when I received the first check I noticed that dues had been taken out of it," Steven Glossop said. "I thought, 'I'm in a union, that could be good.' I thought I must be a state employee. The only other union I was ever in was the Teamsters union. That was when I worked for a beverage company. Back then, they (the Teamsters) had to negotiate for us."
"Later I saw that all the union (SEIU) was doing was taking our money," he said. "I wonder what most taxpayers would say if they knew that some of taxpayer dollars being paid to help families out is being taken by the union."
Glossop said the union sent him an informational packet detailing how it spends its money. Among the things included in the breakdown of expenses were union cards.
"I finally decided I wanted to get out of the union," he said. "I called the union up and told them. They sent me a packet. It was full of information about why I should stay in the union.”
"It felt like they were bullying me. Then I found out that, even if I left the union, I'd still have to keep paying what they call a fair share. This would be 66 percent of what the dues had been," he added.
"To me, it seems like the union is power hungry," Glossop said. "I can't believe all of this stuff. I've been forced into this union that I never signed up for. It seems like we all just keep losing more and more freedoms and liberties."
Glossop says although a union representative recently contacted him to see if he had received all the information he had requested, he believes their new found concern for his situation has to do with the upcoming election.
"I'm just hoping at some point this will be done with," he said.
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Front page photo source courtesy the AP.