State board may void contract with home health care workers

Sep 21, 2012

Michigan could void its contract with thousands of home health care workers if a state board agrees with a legal action filed this week by the Mackinac Center.

The free market think tank is asking the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to rule that home health care workers aren’t public employees, but rather private contractors who can’t unionize.

The workers are organized under the Service Employees International Union.

The Mackinac Center’s Pat Wright says they’re forced to pay dues that should be going to patient care.

“These are people that are at home taking care of loved ones, and ending up paying union dues because of it, and we don’t think that’s proper,” he said.

Wright says home care workers were essentially forced to unionize in 2005. The SEIU says workers voted to organize, and get vital benefits in return.

The union supports a proposal on the November ballot guaranteeing collective bargaining rights for home health care workers. It would define the workers as public employees in the state constitution.