State Rep. Mike Shirkey today welcomed the news that home-based caregivers would no longer be forced to have union dues taken from the governmental checks they were receiving to take care of loved ones at home. The Michigan Department of Community Health announced that starting this month the union dues would no longer be required. Over the past six years more than $34 million had been diverted away from recipients, the vast majority of which were simply family members taking care of disabled loved ones at home.
“As we discussed the need for Labor Freedom and Right to Work laws in Michigan last year, this misdirection of $34 million was a prime example of why we needed change,” Shirkey said. “You had a governmental program that was paying people money to keep loved ones out of nursing homes, and then we had the SEIU successfully hijack the program by having unions dues deducted from those people’s assistance checks. Most of these people didn’t even consider themselves governmental employees, let alone union members, but they were forced to pay union dues nonetheless.”
The “Home Help Program” is a federal program administered in part by the state that helps disabled people to stay in familiar surroundings rather than going into nursing homes. In most cases it is family members who end up taking care of a disabled loved one, at an expense rate than can be more cost-effective than other forms of care that can take people into unfamiliar surroundings. This is an especially important consideration for people who may have health problems such as Alzheimer’s.
“I’m extremely happy to see the dues practice end and for more money to flow to the families it was originally intended for,” Shirkey said. “Now we’ll have to see what we can do about trying to get people their money back.”