May
01
2014

SEIU takes it on the chin in Michigan.

(H/T: @presjpolk) Background: back during the largely unlamented Granholm administration, Michigan allowed SEIU to ‘organize’ caregivers who were only taking care of adult disabled friends and family members.  And by ‘organize caregivers’ I mean, of course, ‘raid government disability checks for phony union dues.’ It was a great scam, frankly: the money got deducted right from the Medicare or Medicaid check, the ‘members’ affected never got hit up for money directly, and the amounts per paycheck were small enough (this article gives $30/month as one example: it may be, in fact, the high-end) that people didn’t squawk too loudly.  Smart parasites know not to hurt the host too badly.

But then 2011 Rick Snyder became governor, and he promptly started deworming Michigan.  The technique was and is simple (Scott Walker used the same trick in Wisconsin): Snyder simply stopped making the process mandatory, and then waited to see what happened.  And what happened?

[Patrick] Wright’s organization [the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation] estimates that the SEIU reaped nearly $35 million from Michigan’s elderly and disabled from 2006 to last year. Of some 59,000 residents classified as home-based caregivers, about 80 percent stopped paying when they learned they did not have to.

It would seem that people did notice, but simply tolerated it as yet another thing that the state government got its greedy little corrupt mitts into.  But give them a chance to reverse the situation, and they jumped at it. We see this a lot, frankly: over in Wisconsin public sector union membership went into freefall just as soon as people could vote with their feet.  And it’s not going to get any better for Big Labor, either: there’s a reason why Scott Walker’s likely opponent this year is running away from reversing Walker’s labor union reforms, and it’s not just because Mary Burke is an elitist limousine liberal with no real grasp of what life is like for ordinary Americans…

Moe Lane (crosspost)

PS: By the way: I have nothing against labor unions as a concept.  In fact, I think that the ability of private sector workers to organize and collectively bargain is a handy way to serve as a check on businesses getting too grabby (yeah, I know, horrible RiNO, me).  But there’s no legitimate reason to have public sector unions. There was no need for them: for the longest time the rule there was low pay, but you never get fired.  A lot of Big Labor’s problems come from the fact that AFSCME and SEIU got the first part changed, and left the second alone.

6 Comments

  • acat says:

    I have argued for years, Moe, that “skilled trades” don’t need unions so much as they need guilds.
    .
    Think about it, trade-guilds could run their own high-school-equivalent “charter schools”, where the “shop” and “home ec” classes or whatever passes for “life skills” these days are replaced with “electrician 101” or “basic plumbing”…
    .
    Trade-guilds could issue their own certifications – many already do this, of course – and ensure that only members who know what they’re doing are on the job.
    .
    This is key – Trade-guilds could offer enough value in determining who knows what they’re doing and who doesn’t to compete (or compliment) Angie’s List and similar .. that is, need a plumber, and you can find one who is guild-certified online, eh? A little marketing, and .. profit!
    .
    That union leadership has not allowed this kind of thing to happen is just shameful, and points to the historic problem of the trade-guilds getting swamped by the unskilled-labor goon squads.
    .
    Mew

    • Spegen says:

      There are guilds still. Look at most of the professional groups, most of them are variation of the guild concept. They control the licensing therefore who gets to work in that field.

      • acat says:

        Definitely true .. and it’s a model that would better suit skilled trades.
        .
        Mew

  • Luke says:

    Idaho is a Right to Work state, and one of the earlier adopters of the law.
    .
    From my point of view, it’s the best thing that ever happened to the labor unions (though they, or course, disagree).
    With membership voluntary, they have no choice but to make their services valuable, and valuable to the entire cross-section of workers they represent, at that.
    As such (and with Ricardo’s Law of Comparative Advantage in full effect) joining up is actually a pretty decent deal.
    (Of course, those of us who remember the tactics employed during the debate and enactment of the law are very unlikely to sign up. But that was some 20 years ago…)

  • Catseyes says:

    The funny part about all this is that Snyder wasn’t looking for a fight with the Unions. This was a fight they picked and promptly lost. Snyder didn’t back the right-to-work legislation until the unions started trying to push a law that would have prevented passage of that kind of legislation. He warned them what would happen and because Hey Michigan they figured they could roll him and failed. Then as it was passing they got all whiney about losing a fight they started. Needless to say the world hasn’t ended, well at least for most of the unions anyway.

  • Theo says:

    There are unions that work to make things better for their members. Don’t laugh to hard. There is such a thing, though I am sure most of you have never actually seen such a union in practice. The best part? The unions that function as, you know, unions of the working man, are despised by most other unions.

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