by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
George Leef’s latest Forbes column focuses on another example of labor union thuggery.
Labor unions have been known to do many despicable things to grab dues money from workers who don’t want anything to do with them. A current Minnesota case is about as bad as you’ll ever find.
In 2013, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) got one of its favored politicians, Minnesota governor Mark Dayton, to sign an order declaring that home healthcare providers who receive Medicaid money to care for disabled family members were government employees. But they were “employees” only because that made them eligible for unionization. The SEIU figured that it had a good shot at finagling a victory in an election, which would then lead to a nice infusion of new dues money.
The election, conducted under the auspices of the friendly state bureaucracy, was done entirely through mail-in ballots and under its rules, a victory required only a majority of the votes cast. When the votes were counted in 2014, 3,543 were in favor of the union and 2,306 against. There were about 27,000 home healthcare providers, so with just 13 percent of the total number, the SEIU was declared the representative of all 27,000.
Nearly 24,000 home caregivers had become union members without their consent or even over their dissent.
Some of them were surprised to learn about this, which they discovered only when their checks from the government arrived with a deduction for union dues. Three percent of the money these home caregivers had counted on to cover the cost of assisting disabled family members had been skimmed off and deposited in the union’s treasury. It’s another example of, in Frederic Bastiat’s useful phrase, “legal plunder.”