Sunday, November 11, 2012

Election Aftermath: SEIU to Lose 45,000 Members in Michigan

The New York Times reports that SEIU suffered a massive defeat in Michigan during last week’s elections.

On Tuesday, voters in the Wolverine State soundly rejected SEIU's statewide ballot initiative, called “Proposal 4,” by a margin of 57% to 43%. The ballot measure -- backed by at least $15 million of SEIU’s campaign spending -- sought to re-write Michigan's state constitution in order to allow SEIU to continue representing the state’s 45,000 publicly funded in-home care workers. With the ballot measure voted down by a wide margin, SEIU Healthcare Michigan will now lose the 45,000 members -- or more than 80% of the union's statewide membership of 55,0000 members.

Here’s what’s happened:

Back in 2005, SEIU engineered a top-down deal with Michigan’s then-governor in order to allow the Purple Palace to unionize the state’s in-home care workers. But in the ensuing seven years, SEIU failed to win any real improvements for the workers. In fact, today the workers earn only $8 an hour -- little more than the minimum wage. Meanwhile, the homecare workers must pay 2.75% of their monthly wages in union dues to a notoriously corrupt local of SEIU headed by Marge Faville.

Recently, the state’s top political offices were captured by Republicans, who quickly worked to reverse SEIU’s top-down deal with the former Democratic governor. SEIU officials, with their backs against the wall, dreamed up a hail-mary effort to try to keep ahold of the 45,000 homecare workers.

Their solution? Change the state’s constitution through a ballot measure. Last Tuesday, SEIU’s effort suffered a resounding defeat despite $15 million of SEIU campaign spending, according to the Detroit News. SEIU’s gamble was giant. After all, in 2008 the Purple Palace spent $60 million across the entire U.S. to back Obama’s election campaign.

Since Tuesday, Tasty hears there’s been lots of finger-pointing inside the Purple Palace. One of the SEIU fatcats who’s sure to face a reckoning is Marge Faville, the president of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. Faville has pocketed more than $170,000 a year… along with a union-paid SUV that costs $47,242 and a union-paid corporate apartment that costs $17,600… but will soon see her local's membership shrink by more than 80%.

And that’s not all. Tasty hears that SEIU has a seriously bad rep among the state's homecare workers. In fact, with homecare workers earning near minimum wages after seven years under SEIU, observers speculate that many of SEIU’s own members voted against the Purple Palace’s ballot initiative.