This week was my last week at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. It has been a whirlwind 6 weeks here, learning new ideas and meeting wonderful people. This week I was continuing on with my task from last week, summarizing cases the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation has worked on, in preparation for their new website.
Like last week this was very exciting as it gave me the opportunity to both learn more about what the Mackinac Center does, and the legal troubles that face American people.
After going through quite a few cases I noticed a common theme, illegal unionization. Although I haven’t heard much about unions in Australia (except one time a teachers union went on strike and I got a day off school) they seem to be a prominent part of employment here. Unfortunately not all unions appear to have the interests of their members at heart.
An example being one union who fought for at-home care givers of elderly or disabled people to be classified as government employees, so they could be unionized, and therefore pay union dues. The legal loophole allowing them to be ‘government employees’ coming from cheques they received from the government as part of a Federal Home Help Program meaning they were ‘paid by the government’ making the government their ‘employer’.
In the time this union collected dues from these care givers they made over $32 million. After it became illegal for at home care givers to be classified as government employees, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation fought and won to get these people their money back. Unfortunately they weren’t able to get all of the money back, but they did succeed with some.
I have made the most of my last week in Michigan by after work skiing and even travelling to the nearby city of Grand Rapids to see a childhood friend. My time at the Mackinac Center has been lovely, not least because of the wonderful people I have met here who endeavored to make me feel welcome.
I am concluding my time in the United States by attending the International Students for Liberty Conference in Washington D.C. with some other Mannkal Scholars. The conference looks amazing, with such a busy schedule that I don’t know how I am going to be able to see every speaker I would like, but that’s definitely a good problem to have.