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State Sen. Colbeck: The Truth About Proposal 4 in Michigan

In this Letter to the Editor, Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) writes about what he says are misleading ads about Proposal 4.

- Submitted by the Office of State Sen. Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton), who represents Plymouth and Canton.

We’ve all seen the ads claiming all of the wonderful benefits that passage that Proposal 4 would yield. They say that if Proposal 4 passes, the state would be able to provide training for in-home care workers, create a registry of workers who pass background checks and provide financial services to patients.

Here’s what you are not being told. We can do all of these wonderful things RIGHT NOW! In 2004, the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQCCC) was formed to do just that. In 2005, the MQCCC recognized the Service Employee International Union (SEIU) as the bargaining union for home healthcare aides. These aides are typically family members taking care of their loved ones. Many of these workers received Medicaid payments directly. The idea that they were “employed” by MQCCC was not widespread among these workers. When SEIU used the “registry” that was started in 2004 to mail 43,000 union ballots, only 7,956 ballots were returned (REF: Citizens Research Council Memorandum on Proposal 2012-04). On the basis of 6,949 ballots out of 43,000 issued, all home healthcare aides in our state were forced to pay SEIU union dues. The utterly shameful fact of the matter is that SEIU has been skimming $6 Million in union dues annually from the poorest among us since 2006, but has not provided ANY of the benefits advertised.

In 2012, Governor Snyder, a majority of my fellow legislators, and I said NO to this despicable practice with the passage of PA 76 of 2012. In response, SEIU put the money that they have collected from union dues to work lobbying you to give them more money. They now wish to enshrine the forced unionization of Medicaid-funded home healthcare workers in our Michigan Constitution via Proposal 4.

Union bosses love to malign businesses in their rhetoric, but the truth is that they operate just like a business. Like any business, they are looking to expand into new markets. This time, they have set their sights on Medicaid recipients. What’s next? Medicare? VA Benefits? Food Stamps? This is an utter perversion of the right to join a union.

You may be wondering why you don’t see any advertising targeted against Proposal 4. In a nutshell, the people most impacted by this proposal are too poor to respond. They are just regular people working hard to make ends meet and take care of their loved ones. They don’t have the money to fight a national labor organization like SEIU. We need to be their voice.

It is now up to you to be their voice at the ballot box. Will you stay silent as their Medicaid payments are siphoned off to pay for power-hungry union bosses or will you take a stand to defend those who need our help?

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