On May 24, 2012, Michigan’s attorney general issued an informal legal opinion that temporarily halted the DCH’s withholding of “union dues” from the payments received by in-home caregivers. On May 29, 2012, however, the SEIU sued Gov. Richard Snyder, State Treasurer Andy Dillon and Department of Community Health Director Olga Dazzo in their official capacities. This lawsuit was brought in the federal courts on grounds that the state’s failure to continue withholding money for the SEIU voided the union contract and therefore violated the U.S. Constitution’s contract clause. This lawsuit resulted in a preliminary injunction. The judge held that the Department of Community Health had to continue to withhold the union dues and agency fees to preserve the status quo until final resolution of the case or the expiration of the contract.
Because of the contract extension on the eve of the new law, the collection of the union dues and agency fees continues to this day. Without the contract extension, the collective bargaining agreement would have expired on Sept. 20, 2012, and the dues would no longer have been collected, regardless of the federal ruling.