So, you were forced by unfortunate circumstances to stay at home and care for an aging parent with Alzheimer’s, or a spouse who had suffered a stroke, or a child born with Cerebral Palsy or disabled in a tragic accident. You have made great sacrifices to spend your time caring for a loved one in the best way you knew how, not thinking about yourself, but devoting every moment of your life to your loved one’s care and well being, stealing only what moments for yourself you could in rare moments of quiet. You also were fortunate to live in Michigan and not one of those awful Right-To-Work states. Thankfully, the Service Employees International Union was there to serve you and render you valuable assistance. The assistance they provided to you was to collect Union dues, under the force of law, from the Medicare or Medicaid money your loved one received since your disabled loved one was your employer and you, the caregiver, were the employee.
“We are here to represent you,” said the SEIU, their hand out, collecting money that could have gone to help care for your loved one, in a take milk-from-babies scheme.
“What are you going to do to help me with the dues you collect?” the caregiver might have rightfully asked. “What benefits of Union representation can I expect? Will I get a pension? Will I get a vacation? Will I be able to expect something for the dues forcefully collected on my behalf from the very meager resources my loved one who is bankrupting me receives every month?”
“You work will be recognized and have all the force of a union that is hundreds of thousands strong,” said the Union.
“But what benefits does that give me? How am I served?”
“The Union will grow and prosper from the dues it collects. We will be able to hire new dues collectors and organizers, expanding our reach, serving our members in ways we have heretofore been unable to serve,” said the Union.
“But how, please explain, does that benefit me?”
“Well, it doesn’t benefit you, per se, since you really don’t have a job that pays you anything. We aren’t collecting the dues from you, but from the money that the government pays directly to your loved one, sort of taking it from them, as it were…collecting our fair share. You aren’t the dues payer, so technically, you aren’t a member. Of course, your loved one is the employer of a home health care worker, so they should pay the dues the Union is being cheated out of by your unpaid work since you are taking a job from a Union member with your stay-at-home-health-care-job-stealing-program. Above all, the Union must be paid so we can serve our members. There is strength in Union. We must all stand together as one to stop the injurious practice of people staying home to care for their parents, spouses, or children. This hurts the economy, puts people out of work, and worst of all, robs the Union out of money that is rightfully ours.” The Union said all this while standing at attention, its hand over its heart, and flags waving I the background, trying its best to look like Tom Joad standing there watching someone rob him and his family of their few cents earned picking beans in a hot, dusty San Joaquin Valley field.
No one robbed the righteous Union. They were able to collect over $34,000,000 from the Medicare and Medicaid benefits of those who were being cared for by loved ones, the money going into their coffers to be used for executive salaries and benefits, organization efforts, and political contributions. The Union did not actually represent those from whom they collected benefits, nor those who were serving in the jobs they Union said rightfully belonged to its members. In this case, the Union seemed to be the bean field owner, the caregiver the patient the Joad family, and the caregiver doing the job? Not even a party to Union dues payment nor union benefits. Only the Union was served, which was just fine with the Union. What business entity does not like income against which there are no expenses? What individual doesn’t want the same thing. Do you want you income to grow? Do you want your expenses to go down? Uh-huh! I thought so. Me, too.
“Congratulations,” a Michigan state employed social worker told the unwilling parents of two grown children with Cerebral Palsy, “You are now members of the Union.” The parents wondered exactly what this meant. It meant that each child received $30 less per month due to the deductions of Union dues paid on behalf of their parent/union employee caregivers. The parents scratched their heads wondering just how this was a benefit to them or their children. They are still wondering.
The Supreme Court wisely ruled that the Union cannot do this…that no matter what the state rules are, the Union is not entitled to forcefully collect any money from the proceeds of those who are benefiting from home-based care-giving relatives of disabled persons. The self-serving was taking from the already meager resources of the disabled person and offering nothing in return. For all of you who subscribe to the benefits of the Robin Hood program, this was Robin Hood in reverse. How could a non-profit public entity dedicated to the service and representation of underpaid and corporately abused service-sector workers possibly do anything evil? Well they can. They did. And they did it under the aegis of law, with the force of law, which, technically is at the point of a gun since enforcement of the law by its very nature requires force.
Now, a court in Michigan has ruled that the SEIU is not required to pay back the money it improperly appropriated from those who needed it most. You can rob the bank, be found guilty, receive a cease and desist order, but keep the money you stole. I suppose there’d be a lot more bank robbery if that’s how bank robberies were adjudicated.
This is shameful. This is the most twisted bit of logic I can imagine. It may be the law, but, “If the law says that, then the law is a ass,” to quote Charles Dickens.
Now, to all those who enjoy the application of twisted logic and make great use of it, please declare to me that since the Michigan Court has ruled that the SEIU can keep its ill-gotten gain, that it is the law of the land and I should just shut up and live with it, and say nary another word. Then ask yourselves, you convenient logicians, if that is the case, why the Citizens United decision is bothersome? Why is the 2nd Amendment bothersome? When corporations expand operations overseas to avoid taxes in the USA, just why is that bothersome? When a physician is required by law to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in order to be to care for his post-abortion patients who develop complications, why is this bothersome?
Which laws will we choose to think bothersome? Which will we not? I’ll agree…bad law is bad law…but bad law is frequently only bad if it runs counter to our views.
I expect this Michigan ruling will go to the Supreme Court, too. The rulings of any Court that allows ill-gotten gains to remain as assets on the balance sheet of thieves need to be seriously reviewed. Thieves need to go to prison…this includes Republicans thieves, Democrat thieves, incumbent thieves, challenger thieves, bribers and bribees, corporate thieves, John Corzine, common street criminals, and thousands of other entities. Steal a hundred bucks and you go to jail. Steal millions and you walk free, charges are dropped, and you get to keep the money.
For those of you who admire Robin Hood, how much do you admire the reverse Robin-Hoodism of the Service Employees International Union? After all, Prince John had the law on his side.
How’s that for law?
©2014 Mississippi Chris Sharp