Michigan Union Keeps Millions of Dollars Taken from Home Care Workers

Stephen Tweed | September 26, 2014 | Newsroom
One of our roles at Leading Home Care is to monitor the forces and trends shaping the future of home care in America.  One of the trends we watch regularly is the increasing activity of unions, and particularly the Service Employees International Union, to organize home care workers.  One of their tactics has been to…

One of our roles at Leading Home Care is to monitor the forces and trends shaping the future of home care in America.  One of the trends we watch regularly is the increasing activity of unions, and particularly the Service Employees International Union, to organize home care workers.  One of their tactics has been to work with state legislators to write new laws regulating home care workers in ways that benefit the union and increase union membership.

Here’s an  article from Fox News we just saw that shows an example of how this union has operated and how it has affected home care companies and home care workers.

 “A Michigan court ruled that the state branch of the powerful Service Employees International Union does not have to pay back tens of millions of dollars in dues taken from home health care workers who were forced into unionization.

The Michigan Court of Appeals ruled last week that the SEIU Healthcare Michigan does not have to pay back more than $34 million in dues collected from over 40,000 home health care workers. Many were forced into the union under state requirements that they join because they were taking care of sick family members at home.

The SEIU successfully lobbied for the plan in multiple states that classified unpaid family members as “home health care workers.”

Dues were then automatically collected from the care recipients’ Medicare or Medicaid checks.” The forced unionization ended in 2013 in Michigan and enrollment in the SEIU’s Michigan chapter plummeted the next year. Before the program ended the SEIU collected the $34 million from these family caregivers in the state and the court ruled they don’t have to pay it back.

According to reports the union filed with the U.S. Department of Labor, over 44,000 home-based health care workers left SEIU Healthcare Michigan after learning they did not have to join the union or pay dues. The ruling comes after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June, that public sector unions in Illinois cannot collect fees from home health care workers who don’t want to be part of a union.

This ties in to another trend across the country where state Medicaid programs are allowing family members of home care clients to be paid caregivers.  In Arizona, for example, we have worked with home care companies who have been growing rapidly because when they get a referral for a new client through the Arizona Long Term Care System, they often get the caregiver who is a family member.  This model seems to be a win-win, for the client, for the family member, and for the home care company.

Let us know about the Trends

If you see other examples of labor unions that are taking actions to organize home care workers, or that are lobbying state legislatures to pass laws that force home care workers into the union, please let us know.  If you see other examples of trends in the industry that we should be watching, let us know that as well.

Stephen Tweed
Stephen Tweed, CSP, began his journey as a business strategist in home health care in 1982. Today, Stephen is among the top thought leaders in Home Care strategy and management. He has worked with top 5% companies from across the US. He is a sought after speaker at from national and state association events.

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