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Are Unions Fighting for the Right to Organize or the Right to Coerce?

10:47 AM, Mar 3, 2011 • By MARK HEMINGWAY
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This story got a bit lost in the shuffle yesterday, but unions just suffered a big blow in Michigan. Now that the state is controlled by a Republican governor, they just put a stop to one of the most egregious examples of union overreach in the country.

Last year, I wrote about the scheme cooked up by two of America's biggest unions, along with a state government agency, to organize the Michigan's daycare providers. This was done despite the fact there was no significant interest at all in organizing among the daycare providers:

One day last fall, approximately 40,000 private day care owners in Michigan woke up to discover they had become members of a public sector union. Most had no idea what was coming.

Here's how it happened: The United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees worked with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to conduct a vote-by-mail union election.

Of the 40,000 day care workers in the state, only 6,000 responded to the ballot they received in the mail. But that was enough for the state to declare all of the day care owners would henceforth be represented by the newly organized Child Care Providers Together Michigan union.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Michigan's Department of Human Services collects $3.7 million in union dues for the newly created union. These dues are collected by taking money out of child care subsidies the state pays to day care providers.

So a union election was held by mail, and it's fair to say that the vast majority of daycare providers in the state were unaware it was even happening. Based on the mandate from a very small minority of the 40,000 daycare providers that bothered to mail in their ballot, unions started collecting dues -- but not directly from the business owners.

No, they took $3.7 million in union dues was taken directly out of taxpayer subsidies meant to help needy familes pay for child care.

When unions in Wisconsin and elsewhere talk about the "right to organize," you should remember that they have a very expansive definition of that phrase. And it often includes the right to coerce people into stuffing union coffers against their will.

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