Remember when Michigan union members collapsed a tent on attendees at an Americans for Prosperity event supporting changes to Michigan union rules?

We do, Most chilling Michigan video — “There are people under there, oh my God”:

As the union members attacked the Americans For Prosperity tent, a woman cried out “there are people under there, oh my God” (at 1:20). At 1:40, as union members start walking on top of the collapsed tent, a man shouted “hey, there are people in there” but again the crowd didn’t stop, and the union members continued walking on the collapsed tent defiantly as the crowd shouted obscenities and cheered.

At 1:57 the woman cried out again “there’s people in there,” but to no avail. You can then see various people probing at large lumps under the tent, presumably checking if anyone was trapped. Yet the crowd continued with its profane taunts, as others lifted the edges of the tent and looked underneath, again presumably to see if anyone was trapped.

Someone shouts “go home you bunch of parasites” as the crowd chanted “Go Home.” At 3:30 someone asks, “does someone want to help me lift this? I wonder if there are any people in there.” Then another person said, “there was, there was a bunch of women and older people.” Then another person yelled, “fuck these people.” Another yelled, “they want a war, they got it.”

(language warning)

Now the proverbial tent has collapsed on one aspect of Michigan unions, the previously compelled unionization of home care workers. As The Wall Street Journal reports, when the law was changed to free up home care workers to choose, they overwhelmingly rejected unionization, Michigan Union Collapse:

Democrats gave the SEIU a huge membership gift in 2005 when then-Governor Jennifer Granholm allowed more than 40,000 home-care workers to be unionized. The majority of the workers were independent contractors or family members who care for disabled relatives at home. But because the workers received Medicaid subsidies, they were suddenly reclassified as “public” employees for the purposes of unionization.
In early 2005, the Michigan Employment Relations Commission set a vote-by-mail election for home-care workers. According to the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, of a total of some 41,000 workers who could join the new collective-bargaining unit, there were 6,949 votes to join the SEIU and 1,007 opposed to the unionization. The union did a victory dance and began collecting dues.

Then in 2012 Michigan state lawmakers passed legislation that excluded home-care workers from the state’s definition of public employees. The bottom has since fallen out of SEIU Healthcare’s membership. According to reports filed with the Department of Labor, in 2012 SEIU Healthcare Michigan reported 55,265 members. In 2013 the number fell to 10,918, a loss of 44,347 union members, or about 80%.

It’s too soon to know if there will be a more general decline in union membership. The most recent numbers show a slight drop, but the effect will not be known until existing union contracts expire:

The number of union members in Michigan grew by 4,000 to 633,000 in 2013, but the percent of employed workers in unions dipped from 16.6 percent to 16.3 percent as total employment grew faster than union membership, according to federal statistics released Friday. The number of workers represented by a union, including those who aren’t members themselves, rose by 8,000 to 656,0000 while the percentage dropped from 17.1 percent to 16.9 percent….

Michigan’s right-to-work law, which bans mandatory payment of union dues or fees, went into effect in March 2013. But many unions made sure they had contracts in place before then, so they won’t be subject to the new law until their agreement expires.

In a year or two we’ll know whether the law collapsed the tent on Michigan unions, as freedom to choose did with SEIU Healthcare.

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