The Union Shadow Government

The “must read” label is a bit too easy to throw around, but a post on concerning union expansion — like a cancer in the canals of government bureaucracies — deserves it. We begin with this reminder of a peculiar story that some of you might have heard recently:

This past September Lisa Snyder, a 35 year old Michigan mother, made the news when she received a disturbing letter from the Michigan Department of Human Services. In it, the letter warned her that she was in violation of the law. Her offense? Watching a handful of neighborhood kids each morning for about 20 minutes as they waited at the end of her driveway for the school bus to arrive, with the blessing of their parents. State law in Michigan prohibits the home supervision of unrelated children for more than four weeks in a year without a child care provider license. Turns out a neighbor had complained and the Michigan Department of Human Services, the watchdog for home child care licensing, intervened by sending the warning letter. In Michigan, state employees for the DHS are represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union. Coincidentally, the union that represents the state’s home child care workers? Also the UAW.

Bring that mentality into the realm of healthcare, and the image begins to be frightening. Consider:

Also in Michigan, a story of three women who run their own independent businesses out of their homes, caring for neighborhood children. They each recently received a letter indicating that they are now dues-paying members of the Child Care Providers Together Michigan union — a complete surprise to them.
After a 2006 Executive Order by the Michigan Governor awarded the union (a partnership of UAW and AFSCME) bargaining rights for home child care workers, all it took for the union to convert all 40,000 child care workers to dues paying members was 5,900 signed union authorization cards. That left some independent home child care workers, who’d for years considered themselves self-employed, feeling dismayed and stunned.

A neat chart illustrates the path whereby government subsidies that parents used to help pay for independent child care services brought the self-employed professionals who accepted the payment under the dark shadow of “public service.” In its current form, healthcare reform would move anybody who deals in health and wellness into the target zone of aggressive and politically powerful unions. In theory, in keeping with the Michigan example, “card check” would make it possible for a minority of people within a particular industry could unionize the entire group.
Such a structure would be good for people who like consolidated power within their own reach, but bad for the economy and bad for freedom.

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