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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2012/10/final-arguments-on-proposal-4/

Guest commentary

Final arguments on Proposal 4

Proposal 4 would amend the state constitution to create the Michigan Quality Home Care Council, and allow home health-care workers limited collective-bargaining rights. For full Bridge coverage of Proposal 4 — and the other statewide ballot proposals this year — visit our Ballot Mania page. For an analysis of the proposal by the nonpartisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan, click here. Advocates were asked to make their case on how to vote on Proposal 4:

No: Prop 4
is ‘greedy’
ploy by union

By Robert and Patricia Haynes

For almost any family, it’s a nightmare.  A loved one – a parent, a spouse or child – gets very sick or injured in an accident.  They spend time in the hospital and heal enough to go home, where rather than being able to return to work, or school, or life as they knew it, they require regular care and treatment for what could be the rest of their life. Life is never the same.

Robert Haynes

For thousands of families in communities across Michigan like ours, this nightmare scenario is not something they can wake up from with a sigh of relief. It is reality.

For nearly 40,000 fellow Michigan neighbors, health problems or injuries have turned moms and dads, husbands and wives, and children into home-based caregivers for the people they love.  They would never have chosen this reality for their family. At the same time, it is a responsibility they would never turn their back on. Taking care of one another is what family members do, after all.

Patricia Haynes

Which is why Proposal 4 on this November’s ballot is such an offensive and greedy ploy.  Voters should all vote No on Proposal 4.

Here is why:

Approximately 40,000 Michiganders are “home help providers” — private citizens who provide basic personal care to disabled adults in their own homes. A majority of these home help providers are family members; often, they are parents caring for children or adult children caring for their aging parents. To help with the financial cost of providing this in-home care, these families are eligible for support through the Home Help program. Both the federal and state government understand that supporting family members who care for family members is better and less expensive than paying for institutional care. So, more than 30 years ago, the Home Help program was started to do just that.

In 2005, the Service Employees International Union (the union of government workers) joined with the Granholm administration to force home help providers in Michigan to join their union.  Get a check from the state, even if it’s for caring for your disabled child, and you’re a government worker that belongs in our union – or so they think. In other words, the SEIU sees thousands of Michigan residents who are sacrificing to care for their loved ones as a gravy train of $6 million in annual union dues.

What do these people get for their union dues? Apparently, nothing. Many don’t even get their call returned when they contact the union. And while they’re “state employees” for purposes of paying union dues, they enjoy none of the civil service protections normally accorded state employees.

Still, this is not enough for the SEIU. Rightly, the Legislature has passed two laws to undo this money grab from private residents across Michigan. So now, the SEIU is trying to get voters to lock their insidious plan into the Michigan Constitution.

That is what Proposal 4 does. It enshrines theft into our Constitution. The TV ads will not tell you that. If they did, no one would vote for Proposal 4.

Proposal 4 shamelessly victimizes family members for stepping up to do the exact thing most people go to bed each night praying they will never have to do: provide continuous care for a sick child or parent in our homes.

It’s greedy. It’s deceptive. It’s wrong. Vote “no” on Proposal 4.

Robert and Patricia Haynes live in Macomb County where, as home-based care-givers, they provide around-the-clock care for their two adult children.

Yes: Prop 4
will protect
aged, disabled

By Dohn Hoyle/Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care

Those who are aging or have a disability tell us that they want to stay in their own home instead of going to a nursing home or other institution. If that’s their choice, our priority is to ensure that they are safe and healthy in their own homes.

On Election Day, voters across Michigan have an opportunity to help seniors and people with disabilities get safe, quality care in their own homes, by voting yes on Proposal 4.

Dohn Hoyle is executive director of the Arc Michigan and co-chair of Citizens for Affordable Quality Home Care.

Also known as Keep Home Care a Safe Choice, Proposal 4 ensures our loved ones can direct their own care while remaining independent and healthy in their own homes.

Proposal 4 will help persons who need assistance to remain in their home, get assistance from screened home care workers who help perform many tasks, from getting dressed to taking their medication. Proposal 4 establishes a registry that requires home care workers on it to undergo strict background checks, an important safeguard to prevent neglect and abuse.

Proposal 4 directly impacts the care and safety of countless Michiganders, especially our most vulnerable citizens.

Those of us who work directly with seniors and people with disabilities know firsthand what a real difference quality home care makes. When seniors and people with disabilities choose home care, they are happier and healthier. Home care allows our loved ones to live in familiar, comfortable surroundings near family, friends and their communities. By staying in their own homes, seniors and people with disabilities also avoid costly alternative settings, including nursing homes.

Proposal 4 contains many important safeguards to protect seniors and people with disabilities.

First, it establishes the Michigan Quality Home Care Council, which would oversee a registry that links home care recipients with pre-screened home care providers in their area.

Second, it requires home care providers on the registry undergo strict criminal background checks to ensure safety for seniors and people with disabilities.

Third, it connects home care providers to critical job training so they can better care for seniors and persons with disabilities.

Furthermore, Proposal 4 will save taxpayer dollars in avoided institutional costs, since home care is significantly less expensive to taxpayers than nursing homes, according to non-partisan studies by the AARP and the conservative Anderson Economic Group.

In addition to promoting quality care, Proposal 4 and the registry it creates will also help keep our loved ones safe. By better screening home care workers, we can prevent abuses as well as exploitation, neglect and abandonment of seniors and people with disabilities. According to estimates by the Michigan Department of Human Services, about 14,000 elder abuse cases are reported on average each year.

That’s why a diverse coalition of groups endorses Proposal 4 and urges Michigan citizens to vote yes.

Michigan’s leading senior and disability rights groups, such as the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition, the Area Agencies on Aging Association of Michigan, Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Arc Michigan, and many more have endorsed Proposal 4. Faith leaders, veterans groups and many others also urge a YES vote on Proposal 4.

And, law enforcement leaders, local police chiefs and prosecutors across Michigan agree that Proposal 4 will promote better care and safety for loved ones.

Proposal 4 promotes greater security, it gives those who need assistance more choices and it saves money for them and for taxpayers.

Vote “yes” on Proposal 4 for the health, safety and peace of mind of those we care about.

Bridge welcomes guest columns from a diverse range of people on issues relating to Michigan and its future. The views and assertions of these writers do not necessarily reflect those of Bridge or The Center for Michigan.

2 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. Steve Harry

    Incredibly, Mr. Hoyle does not mention that the proposal allows SEIU Healthcare to continue taking $4 million a year from payments to home help providers, adding to the $32 million they’ve taken since 2005. And he does not mention that the home help care program has been in existence for about 20 years, long before the Michigan Quality Community Care Council was established in April 2004. The program is run by the adult services division of the state Department of Human Services. He does not mention that persons needing home help will not be required to select their helpers from the registry of screened helpers; many of them are family members.

    This is a cynical scheme by the union SEIU Healthcare Michigan to extract 2.75% union dues from the subsidies paid to home help workers, and the union provides nothing in return. There will be no collective bargaining, because the “employer” is not the MQCCC and not the State of Michigan. The “employers” are the 44,000 people receiving the home help.

  2. Jill Barker

    75% of Home Help providers are family members or friends of the senior or person with a disability. They usually view their participation in the program as a way of subsidizing  the care their loved-ones need at home, rather than as as a career choice or a way to make a living. They are often surprised that they are part of a unionized workforce.

    It is understandable that people who are trying to make a living taking care of people in their own homes may welcome unionization depending on the benefits they can get through collective bargaining. When Home Help workers voted on to have the SEIU represent them in 2005, fewer than 20% participated in the election. Much of the opposition to Prop 4 comes from family members who object to paying union dues (or fees if they opt out of the union) for what they see as little benefit to themselves or their disabled family member.

    The existence of the MQC3 was crucial to the unionization of Home Help Workers. Without the MQC3 there would have been no “employer” for the Union to negotiate with, even though the organization does little that an ordinary employer would do.

    One argument for Prop 4 that doesn’t hold water is that it will allow people to live at home rather than have to go to expensive nursing homes. The Home Help Program will continue whether or not Prop 4 passes. Home Help services in no way replicate the level of care that is available in nursing homes. There are other Medicaid funded services through Medicaid waivers that provide for much more care than the Home Help Program. Home Help services are invaluable for many seniors and people with disabilities, but they are only part of an array of services needed by people with significant disabilities.

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