Michigan Childcare Providers Ask Supreme Court for Refund of $4 Million in Illegally-Seized Union Dues
Plaintiffs seek to reclaim dues collected from tens of thousands of nonunion caregivers who were illegally required to pay AFSCME and UAW
Washington, DC (August 4, 2015) – Building on the National Right to Work Foundation-won Knox v. SEIU Supreme Court decision, Foundation staff attorneys have filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the High Court in Schlaud v. UAW. The class-action lawsuit seeks to reclaim millions of dollars in illegally-seized union dues for thousands of Michigan homecare providers
The petition was filed for Carrie Schlaud, Diana Orr, Peggy Mashke, and Edward and Nora Gross, who receive a small subsidy from the State of Michigan to provide home-based childcare services. Foundation staff attorneys argue that all similarly-situated Michigan caregivers are entitled to refunds of union dues collected after former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Child Care Providers Together Michigan (CCPTM) union, an organization jointly founded by AFSCME and the UAW, pushed them into union ranks.
The five plaintiffs originally filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Granholm and the CCPTM union for designating home-based childcare providers who receive state funds as public employees solely for the purpose of forcing them to accept the CCPTM's "representation" and pay union dues.
Although less than 15 percent of over 50,000 childcare providers receiving state funding voted in a union certification election, CCPTM union bosses obtained monopoly bargaining privileges and the authority to collect union dues from all home-based childcare providers in the state. The union collected over $4 million dollars in dues before Granholm’s successor, Governor Rick Snyder, ended the arrangement.
After filing their lawsuit, the five plaintiffs reached a settlement with Snyder that ensured Michigan is no longer forcing home-based childcare providers into union ranks. However, the providers' lawsuit was denied class-action status, meaning that CCPTM union officials were not required to refund $4 million in forced union dues previously collected from over 50,000 other care providers.
Foundation staff attorneys contend that the Court should give all Michigan home-based childcare providers an opportunity to reclaim the wrongfully-seized union dues. The petition also asks the Court to rule that unions must always obtain employees’ affirmative consent before collecting dues from their paychecks.
“A backroom political deal empowered union bosses to confiscate millions of dollars in forced dues from thousands of Michigan caregivers who never agreed to support a union,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “The Court should see that this money is returned to Michigan childcare providers and establish that union bosses must obtain employees’ consent before collecting dues.”