Supreme Court Clears Path for Michigan Childcare Providers to Win Back Money Illegally Seized by Union Officials
UAW and AFSCME took in over $4 million from 50,000 childcare providers in unconstitutional scheme, but lower courts blocked lawsuit to return money from unions
Washington, DC (July 1, 2014) – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it has granted, vacated, and remanded a federal lawsuit which seeks to require that Michigan's 50,000 home childcare providers receive a refund of union dues illegally taken during a now-defunct unionization scheme.
National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys argue that all of Michigan's home childcare providers should be entitled to refunds of the union dues collected after former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and a UAW and AFSCME coalition, the Child Care Providers Together Michigan (CCPTM) union, colluded to force the state's providers into union ranks against their will.
Michigan home childcare providers Carrie Schlaud, Diana Orr, Peggy Mashke, and Edward and Nora Gross originally filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Granholm and the CCPTM union for designating home 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 40,000 childcare providers then receiving state funding voted in a union certification election, CCPTM union bosses were subsequently granted monopoly lobbying privileges and the power to collect union dues from home childcare providers. The union took upwards of $4 million dollars from the childcare providers before the scheme ended.
After filing their lawsuit, the five plaintiffs won a settlement with Governor Rick Snyder ensuring that Michigan no longer forces home childcare providers into union ranks. However, because the providers' lawsuit was denied class-action status, CCPTM union officials were not required to refund $4 million in forced union dues previously collected from over 50,000 other care providers.
Citing yesterday's Foundation-won Harris decision – in which the Court held that homecare providers cannot be forced into union dues payments – the Court overturned the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision in the case and ordered that court to reconsider its denial of class-action status to the thousands of childcare providers.
"Union operatives used their political clout to collect forced dues from thousands of unwilling Michigan home childcare providers," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "All of those childcare providers deserve to get their money back, and the U.S. Supreme Court appears to agree."