(Editor’s Note: I will update this post with Stossel’s program later today.)
John Stossel’s program today will cover the new law in Michigan that automatically makes small business owners who run daycare centers be part of a union and pay union dues.
Also in Michigan, a story of three women who run their own independent businesses out of their homes, caring for neighborhood children. They each recently received a letter indicating that they are now dues-paying members of the Child Care Providers Together Michigan union – a complete surprise to them.
After a 2006 Executive Order by the Michigan Governor awarded the union (a partnership of UAW and AFSCME) bargaining rights for home child care workers, all it took for the union to convert all 40,000 child care workers to dues paying members was 5,900 signed union authorization cards. That left some independent home child care workers, who’d for years considered themselves self-employed, feeling dismayed and stunned. Such began cries of forced unionism and initiated a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Human Services. The lawyer for the plaintiffs, Patrick Wright from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, explains that the whole arrangement –
is nothing more than “a government ’shell corporation‘ designed to get around possible political and constitutional obstructions to the arrangement”. Wright offers a detailed backgrounder on this case and a fantastic explanation of the scheme behind the actions.
So, was this an instance of unintended consequences that were simply unforeseen by the state of Michigan and its representatives working with the unions? Or was unionizing 40,000 child care workers under the quiet cover of an apparently under-advertised vote by mail campaign an intended consequence for AFSCME and UAW? More importantly, why is SEIU’s part in this production so downplayed? Their joint documents clearly indicate that SEIU is driving the national movement to unionize home child care workers all across the country. Not to mention SEIU’s “Kids First” program, which is both the beneficiary and the business driver behind all of these new home child care union members, in concert with AFSCME’s efforts.
John Stossel, 2.11.2010