The nation’s home-based child care providers represent millions of single business owners –women, mostly – whose entrepreneurial spirit and operating ingenuity are surpassed only by their willingness to clean the noses and backsides of other people’s children.
In Michigan, roughly 40,000 of the state's 70,000 day care owners were perhaps too busy changing diapers, reading stories and making lunches to notice a random piece of mail in which they were invited to declare themselves unionized state employees. (See www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/12223.)
Obviously, a private business owner is not an employee of the government. But the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) couldn’t resist the lure of so many potential dues-paying members.
So AFSCME hatched a grand scheme. Suppose you declare that any child care provider whose clients receive state subsidies for daycare are considered employees of the state? You’d instantly have 40,000 new state employees to add to the rolls of union membership.
Follow the union’s logic: Say you own and operate Granny’s Junction Daycare. A few of your clients attend job-retraining programs that qualify them for subsidized child care benefits. Along with the money that is paid directly to you from these clients, you receive a check each month from the state to pay some of their expenses.
This makes you… wait for it… a State employee. “Close enough for government work” never rang so true.
To accomplish this surreptitious unionization effort, Michigan’s Department of Human Services (DHS) formed an agency called the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council (MHBCCC). This agency does exactly nothing. In fact, they aren’t even funded by the Michigan Legislature. But MHBCCC is an entity against which a union may organize.
Enter AFSCME’s new “faux” union, Child Care Providers Together Michigan (CCPTM) .The new union sends election ballots to those 40,000 potential members (formerly known as small business owners), encouraging them to unionize. About 6,000 ballots are returned. Interestingly, more than 5,000 favor joining the union, while only 475 oppose it. The other 34,000 threw the thing away, assuming they couldn’t possibly need a union – or be eligible to join one – since they own and operate private businesses.