Forced Unionization in Michigan: Stealing Candy from a Baby

Katie Gage

5/7/2010 12:01:00 AM - Katie Gage

Daycare centers have provided a way for many men and women across the country to be entrepreneurs, opening businesses in their homes and caring for the young children in their communities. Child care centers such as those that exist throughout Michigan provide quality and affordable options for parents who have to work – in some cases more than one job – to make ends meet in a difficult economic environment.

But much of this will change when these daycare centers are forcibly unionized, which is happening right now in the state. After Michigan received federal funding through the Department of Human Services for assistance in applying for daycare for qualified (means-income tested) individuals, labor bosses stepped in and decided they needed to get their piece of the pie.

According to the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, of the 40,000 daycare workers in Michigan, only 6,000 of them voted to be unionized. Yet, suddenly, owners across the state found themselves in a labor union and subject to paying dues even if they weren’t aware a vote forming a union took place, much less participated in it. As the Mackinac Center explains, these business owners were forced “into a union they had not heard of, had not voted for and that does not bargain on their behalf.”

Michelle Malkin

It’s important to understand what happened here, union bosses were able to orchestrate a vote where only the majority of those voting decided the fate of every single daycare provider in the state. This assumes that anyone not casting a ballot is, in fact, in favor of abdicating their own right to negotiate and allowing a union to represent them.

Unions aren’t worried about the costs these businesses or any others must manage, after all, millions of dollars are at play. Given the fact that DHS has begun funneling to Big Labor funds originally allocated for daycare providers, which total approximately $3.7 million per year, it appears union bosses have figured out another way to game the system. Millions of dollars that should be going to help Michigan families care for the most vulnerable and innocent among us, our children, are now going into the coffers of organized labor.

A group of these daycare owners have rightly filed a law suit against the DHS and I wholeheartedly support their effort. What we’ve seen in the last year from Big Labor is an unprecedented effort to take over industries and instead of defending citizens, our government and elected officials have enabled union bosses.

For instance, labor heads succeeded in pushing former union attorney and radical Craig Becker as a nominee to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Persuading President Obama to appoint him during a Congressional recess, labor succeeded in receiving a return on its investment of 500 million dollars during the last election cycle.

As a point in fact, $3.7 million per year finances quite a bit of the union boss wish list, one example being retirement and pension packages. But these daycare providers will not benefit, as the union is not bargaining on their behalf. In fact, union bosses don’t even fund adequately the pensions of the workers they do represent instead using the money for political campaigns, golf outings and lavish retreats.

So, while union bosses’ pensions are secured and fully funded, daycare centers are cheated out of their hard-earned money with little to no benefit.

Additional dues is perhaps the primary reason why Big Labor bosses will stop at nothing to force unionization on every worker in America through heavy-handed tactics like we have just seen in Michigan and through its pressure on Congress to pass the job-killing Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act. EFCA has been shown to cause the unemployment of 600,000 workers in the first year alone, with more to follow.

Sadly, we may begin to see daycare centers in Michigan close their doors because of the increased burdens forced unionization places on small businesses. At minimum, struggling families doing everything to make ends meet will bear additional costs which will be passed down to them from these daycare centers, all to ensure the Big Labor beast receives its pound of flesh.

Michigan’s small business owners, like the rest of the country, deserve better from their government and should not be subjected to unwanted unionization. These small business owners are not employees, they are independent contractors. If this bad public policy stands, where will we draw the line?