Battle Plan of the Shadowbosses: The strategy to unionize government employees who aren’t government employees

[media-credit name=” ” align=”alignright” width=”150″][/media-credit]From the November 2012 issue of the Capital Research Center’s Labor Watch:

Battle Plan of the Shadowbosses: The strategy to unionize government employees who aren’t government employees

By Mallory Factor with Elizabeth Factor (PDF here)
excerpted from their book Shadowbosses

Summary: Unable to persuade most private sector workers to join unions, labor strategists are using political connections and dubious legal arrangements to unionize private citizens without their consent—including parents caring for their own children.

[For the editor’s note that provides background for this excerpt, click here. For a sidebar about “independent” certification in Kansas, courtesy of Kathleen Sebelius, click here.]

In Michigan, AFSCME (the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) and the UAW (United Auto Workers) launched a campaign to unionize home-based day care providers statewide. Providers in Michigan set their own hours, work at home, and negotiate their own rates with the families of the children for whom they care. The providers are paid partially or fully from government programs.

As usual, political allies gave the unions the creative legal structure needed to unionize these care providers. In July 2006, the state, under Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D), created a shell corporation that would be the “employer” of day care providers so they could be declared “state employees” for the limited purpose of unionizing them. A union election was held, with a mail-in ballot. Fewer than 15 percent of day care providers voted for the union, but it won the election and was certified forever as the representative of all 40,500 providers. After the state started deducting union dues from their reimbursement checks, many providers complained, saying they had never heard about any election or even about a unionization drive.

Michigan home child care provider Peggy Mashke explained: “I received a notice in the mail from the UAW congratulating me on my new membership. I was kind of shocked.” Peggy, who’s married to a retired Ford worker, was confused when she received the letter telling her she would now be paying dues to the UAW. “I don’t have a problem with the union,” she explained. “Just not in my home.” Still, her home business was unionized without regard for her wishes.