On Tuesday, Michigan voters rejected a ballot proposal that would have effectively unionized Michigan’s home health providers by amending the state’s Constitution. This amendment would have entrenched a scam that has allowed the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to quietly scrape over $30 million in “union dues” from private caregivers looking after Michigan’s disabled population. In many cases, the caregivers in question are taking care of their own relatives.

Even more despicable is that the SEIU took dues covertly without providing even a semblance of representation for many of Michigan’s home health care providers. The SEIU claimed that the providers were dues-paying members, but they were in fact non-unionized, private citizens.

The ballot proposal that failed would have established something called the Michigan Quality Home Care Council (MQHCC). This body would ostensibly extend collective bargaining rights to Michigan’s home health care providers, create a registry of providers required to pass background checks, and provide home health care training. The amendment also authorized the MQHCC to set wage standards and employment rules for providers within its registry, although it did preserve the right of disabled Michigan residents to choose caregivers outside of MQHCC’s registry.

What the ballot’s language did not show is how the SEIU has poached a portion of each home health care provider’s Medicaid reimbursement to the tune of over $30 million since the formation of the Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) in 2004. Most of these care providers have been family members receiving portions of the dollars their disabled relatives get from Medicaid. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy reported that in 2010, sixty-seven percent of MQC3 home health care providers cared for relatives.

MQC3’s purpose, just like the failed MQHCC, was to create a registry of qualified home health care providers and provide them with training. Yet MQC3, because of its status as a government-sanctioned council, made its home health care providers government employees. The SEIU was thus able to claim these new government employees as union members and collect dues from them. SEIU was able to achieve this by sending a ballot to Michigan’s 41,000 home health care providers that would certify SEIU as their union representative. Although eighty percent of those who received a ballot did not vote, SEIU simply needed a majority of “yes” votes among the ballots that were cast, which it got, thus certifying it as the union representing Michigan’s “government-employed” home health care providers. If Michigan had voted to pass Tuesday’s ballot proposal for MQHCC, then the SEIU’s scam would have been validated by the state’s constitution.

Fortunately, Michigan voters rejected the amendment, and the SEIU’s campaign to exploit the state’s disabled population and their caregivers has been delayed. This unscrupulous effort to constitutionally enshrine a union scam in a state constitution is another reason for states, including Texas, to remain wary of organized labor. The SEIU has already attempted to unionize home health workers in Texas, albeit unsuccessfully. If their effort succeeds, it will significantly increase the cost of Medicaid in Texas, which is already placing a tremendous strain on the state budget.