Thursday, January 07, 2010

"Pure Michigan" - A Contradiction In Terms?


"Pure Michigan" as they call it in their promotional ads, the place you should relocate your business.

Michigan, as in . . .

- The State with the highest unemployment rate in the United States - 14.7%

- The State with two of the most dangerous cities in America (Detroit ranks third and Flint ranks sixth.)

- The State with the fourth highest rate of unionization, behind only Washington, Alaska, New York, and Hawaii.

Are they kidding?

Not a chance.

All the hype and promises of a "new" way of doing things aside, it appears clear the politicians in Michigan are still doing the same old things in the same old ways.

In an "in your face" sleight of hand, Michigan is no longer just forcing employees into unions but now forcing independent business people to join, too.

Can it be?

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that home health care workers, most of whom consider themselves independent business owners, are now considered "employees" of the newly founded "Michigan Home Based Child Care Council."

After it was clear the unions could not organize 40,000 home health care workers, if only because they are spread from one end of the State to the other, the United Auto Workers who don't many autoworkers left to represent, teamed up with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Union and petitioned to be the exclusive representative of all home health care providers. Their contention? Because these home health care workers receive a subsidy from the State of Michigan they are actually employed by the State of Michigan.

The relative handful of pro-union supporters showed up and voted. The rest didn't even understand what was happening to them until they found union dues being taken out of their subsidy checks from the State.

Net-net: $3.7 million never makes it to the intended recipients, but ends up in the coffers of Big Labor. Why? Michigan is not a "right to work" State, so not only are these "employees" represented by a union they don't know or want, their "representatives" have signed a contract that requires all of them to be union members and, moreover, to have union dues taken directly from their subsidy checks.

How convenient.

And if that wasn't enough, to add insult to injury the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has given a "for-profit" union subsidiary $2 million (in the form of a tax credit) to provide "administrative services" for this union and other local labor organizations in Michigan.

But it is not over. The rationale used by the union to get that tax credit? High labor costs in Michigan.

There is no shame and you can't make this stuff up. It is too bizarre. No one would believe it.

But, then again as they say, this is "Pure Michigan."


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