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Hearings Begin on Day-Care Owner Unionization Bills

March 12, 2010

This week, the Senate Families and Human Services Committee began testimony on SBs 1173, 1178, and 1179.  The bills would make it clear that day-care owners and home-healthcare workers who own their businesses are not public employees and therefore cannot be unionized and have dues withheld from subsidies that they receive from the state.

The bills stem from an issue that has been getting a great deal of state and national media coverage in recent weeks.

In December of 2008, approximately 40,000 in-home day care owners were notified by mail that they were now members of a newly formed union. 

Shortly thereafter, the Department of Human Services (DHS) began withholding union dues from the subsidy checks that these daycare providers receive from the state.  The state provides the subsidy checks to the daycare providers to assist low-income parents with the costs of child care.  It is estimated that the amount of money being withheld for union dues is $3.7 million.

A class action suit was filed against the DHS in 2009.  In December of 2009 the Michigan Court of Appeals dismissed the case.  The dismissal is being appealed.

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