Next up: doctors, section 8 housing owners, ????? Grocery stores, drug stores???
A year ago in December, Ms. Berry and more than 40,000 other home-based day care providers statewide were suddenly informed they were members of Child Care Providers Together Michigan—a union created in 2006 by the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union had won a certification election conducted by mail under the auspices of the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. In that election only 6,000 day-care providers voted. The pro-labor vote turned out.
Many of the state’s other 34,000 day-care providers never even realized what was going on. Ms. Berry tells us she was “shocked” to find out she was suddenly in a union. The real dirty work, however, had been done when the state created an “employer” for the union to “organize” against.
Of course, Michigan’s independent day-care providers don’t work for anybody except the parents who were their customers. Nevertheless, because some of these parents qualified for public subsidies, the Child Care Providers “union” claimed the providers were “public employees.”
Michigan’s Department of Human Services then teamed with Flint-based Mott Community College to sign an “interlocal agreement” in 2006 establishing a separate government agency called the Michigan Home Based Child Care Council. This council was directed to recommend good child-care practices—and not coincidentally, to serve as a “public employer.” Although the council had almost no staff, no control over the state subsidies and no supervision of the providers’ daily activities, it became the shell corporation against which the union could organize.
Thus the state created an ersatz employer and an ersatz “bargaining unit” against which what was essentially an ersatz union could organize.
Today the Department of Human Services siphons about $3.7 million in annual dues to the union—from the child-care subsidies. The money should be going to home-based day-care providers—themselves not on the high end of the income scale. Ms. Berry now sees money once paid to her go to a union that does little for her. She says she is “self employed and wants nothing to do with the union.”
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