The Service Employees International Union is not a charity. According to its own website, the SEIU is an employee union that exists to win “better wages, health care and more secure jobs” for their members.
So why do proponents of Proposal 4 maintain that the SEIU is spending millions to simply “ensure safe home care”? And why is the union only pushing through this change to the Michigan Constitution now, when a program that guarantees this has been in existence since for over 30 years?
According to the latest campaign finance report, the group pushing Proposal 4 — Citizens For Affordable Quality Home Care — has raised $9 million so far, all of it from the group Home Care First Inc. The vast majority of the money for Home Care First comes from the SEIU.
According to the same report, there has been almost no money spent opposing Proposal 4.
The issue here is simple: A case of concentrated benefits (millions of dollars to one union) and diffuse costs (a small amount from businesses and individuals, many who are unaware that they are unionized). This means you won’t see any pricey commercials, billboards or news advertisement against Proposal 4, just the occasional opinion article from those directly affected and some good journalists getting to the bottom of the scheme (the Detroit Free Press editorial page calls it “easy to dismiss”).
Home-based caregivers are eligible for financial assistance through the Home Help Care Program. If Proposal 4 goes down, that will continue. The elderly and disabled are able to stay in their homes through the program. If Proposal 4 goes down, that will continue. There is already an entity training workers and providing background checks. If Proposal 4 goes down, that will continue.
But because of legislative and legal action, the days of the SEIU skimming money from caregivers is coming to an end. If Proposal 4 passes, that would be overridden and the dues skim locked into the state constitution.
Which explains the SEIU’s interest, after all.