Editor’s note: Kevin Mooney’s reports on evidence of fraud in the unionization of home caregivers in Minnesota struck a nerve. Neither the union affiliate in question, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, nor the national SEIU organization has responded to The Daily Signal’s requests for comment over the past six weeks. Here’s some of what you had to say, topping off our latest mailbag.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: I worked as a personal care assistant for my sister with a company called Access North in northern Minnesota. In 2015, I also had my signature forged by the Service Employees International Union (“She Never Joined a Union. But Union Fees Got Deducted From Her Paycheck”). SEIU showed up at my door one night at 8 p.m. to ask me about joining the union. My husband told them I wasn’t interested and shut the door.
The next day they showed up again, and I said no, I do not want to join. The rep asked if they could send me information about it so I could think it over. I wrote down my address on a scratch piece of paper, but never put my name or signature on it. Told him I would contact them if I changed my mind. At this point I was just trying to get them to leave me alone.
Two days later, another rep showed up and would not take no for an answer and would not leave until I threatened to call the police for harassment. I had direct deposit on my check and got paid biweekly. I happened to look at my check stub a few weeks later and saw that $28 has been taken out of my check for union dues.
I contacted SEIU and asked why they were taking dues out when I never joined. The person I spoke with basically accused me of lying and said they would send the union card to me to show I filled it out. And in order for them to stop taking dues, I had to write them a handwritten letter.
I asked them about getting the money back they took and they told me I had to take that up with my employer. Of course, my employer said that SEIU had to give the money back. That never happened.
I received the union card in the mail. I had never even seen the card that they said I signed, and clearly it was not my signature. My husband and oldest daughter both noticed it looked different. I wish I would have contacted someone legally, but didn’t think I would be taken seriously with how powerful SEIU is.
It makes me sick that they are getting away with this. Just wanted to let you know that happened to another person.—Sara M., Duluth, Minn.
‘This Fraud Must Be Going on All Over’
Dear Daily Signal: I live on the South Shore in Massachusetts, and the same thing happened to me (“She Never Joined a Union. But Union Fees Got Deducted From Her Paycheck”). I was a personal care assistant for a number of years for a young boy, Joey, and was paid by Cerebral Palsy of Massachusetts.
The union began taking money out of my paycheck. I made several calls to complain about it and got nowhere. I even called my state senator, and that got me nowhere. This is Massachusetts, of course.
This fraud must be going on all over the U.S. As far as I am concerned, Andy Stern and his cohorts are a nasty group of people. They funneled millions and millions of dollars to the Democratic Party to get Obama elected, then to fund Obamacare.
Being a lifelong conservative, I did not want my money taken out of my paycheck only to have it go to the Democratic Party. I quit my job as a personal care assistant and continued being a PCA for Joey on a volunteer basis, meaning I did not take money from his parents. I came to love them as family.
Also, the union at the school I worked at threatened me because I refused to pay dues to the teachers union. Around 2004, they wrote me a letter saying they would take me to court if I did not sign up. I still refused to join. I wrote back that I live in the United States of America, where I am free to work and free to not join a union if I so choose.
I applaud Patricia Johansen, with the help of her family, for going forth with her complaint against SEIU Healthcare Minnesota. I think it’s wonderful. She is is a plucky senior citizen, and I admire her for it.—Louise Dionne Nowlan
‘I Was Fired When I Brought Up These Concerns’
Dear Daily Signal: I’m an activist and organizer who worked for a short time, from October to December 2012, as lead organizer for SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, which, pre-scandal, was called SEIU 6434 in California. The local was in the middle of a huge leadership corruption scandal when I was hired with the charge of bringing the union back to the workers.
I was fired after a few months when I brought up these very concerns reported in Kevin Mooney’s article (“Home Caregivers, Asserting Fraud, Push to Decertify Union That Deducts Dues”). SEIU is a corporate union that preys on the poorest and most vulnerable of workers. The union makes millions of dollars thru forced unionization and forced involvement in the Committee on Political Education, or COPE.
COPE is a political action committee that members are pressured to support. The poor members sign, giving more of their paychecks away through further deductions. The money is then given in large part as direct political contributions to political candidates.
The care workers through their paycheck deductions support the exorbitant salaries of staffers and high-level union administrators. Most members have no idea how much these administrators make. The care workers themselves get really nothing in return from the union.—E. Garcia
‘Why Ruin the Union for Others?’
Dear Daily Signal: I am a member of SEIU as a health care provider in Washington state. Our dues go to our union to make sure we have what we need to do our work. I have been given 70 hours of training and a lot of information and help to assist my grandson.
I am grateful I have a dependable organization. It seems from your story (“Home Caregivers, Asserting Fraud, Push to Decertify Union That Deducts Dues“) that the union made the situation right. They gave back to the personal care assistant the money she didn’t want to pay.
She probably is getting a higher wage and some benefits that weren’t offered before from the state of Minnesota. I know we have a better situation in Washington since we got a contract. I don’t know what else the lady wants.
It sounds like she doesn’t have to be a member, so why ruin the union for others who want to be members? Why destroy an organization of caregivers? It doesn’t seem right and the story seems like it is not saying everything.—Elizabeth Turnbow
‘Great Work by Kevin Mooney’
Dear Daily Signal: Kevin Mooney’s piece on that nasty SEIU case involving home caregivers in Minnesota grabbed my attention. Loved it. I just posted a piece on Forbes relying heavily on it.—George Leef
Wow, great work by Kevin Mooney. This needs to be a national story. Great job digging up the facts.—Bob Trento, Naples, Fla.
Thanks for Kevin Mooney’s article on questionably obtained union dues. Hope it gets this stopped. So many people are just too “nice” and can’t say no.—Shanelle Hawk, Hawthorn, Pa.
Questions About Surveillance
Dear Daily Signal: I read your article regarding former Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s belief that he and Trump Tower both were “wiretapped” during the Obama administration (“Trump Finds an Unlikely Defender on Wiretapping: Dennis Kucinich”).
It caused me to research a 2012 article in Wired about efforts by the National Security Agency to complete construction of its Bluffdale, [Utah,] facility. While the article seems lengthy, I ask you scroll to paragraph 5 and reflect upon the enormity of what the author, James Bamford, is saying. (His bio is revealing in itself.)
I am 72 years old and recall the days of “wiretapping” when that phrase truly described the surveillance of “hard-wired” communications networks and devices (aka telephones, corded or not). Most of that early on surveillance targeted criminals, but now has extended to politics and even international scrutiny of nation states and their leaders.
That we now witness President Trump refer to having been “wiretapped” by President Obama during the 2016 campaign is, in my opinion, nothing more than Trump using a phrase that umbrellas all forms of surveillance and capture of virtually all forms of communications.
I have no doubt that, despite alleged curtails imposed by our government upon the NSA, it still wields enormous power to capture, store, and retrieve vast amounts of communications and internet data. Obama would have been aware of that, and could easily have asked for some “key word” searches or retrievals (think: Flynn, Trump, Sessions, Merkel, et al).—Jim McCormack
Perhaps it is me, and a lot of news floating around out there is just noise, but I believe this Susan Rice story is significant (“What Could Be Next in Susan Rice in ‘Unmasking’ Controversy”). I suggest the focus on and coverage of it by The Daily Signal match that significance.—Greg Johnson
I might have missed it, but can we get a lot more exposure and commentary as to whether the previous administration snooped on matters Trump—how, who, and when established, to push an agenda. Can we get apologies and consequences for those involved?—Leonard Kope
Taming the Bureaucracy
Dear Daily Signal: The Georgia civil service reform plan is too slow (“What Georgia Could Teach Trump About How to Drain the Swamp”). The plan that will work: No one works for the federal government for more than 10 years. Good pay, cash allotment that person must use for retirement, health care extended for 12 months after termination. After that, they re-enter the labor market.
The three top echelons of management are staffed by the president, and those years count for the 10-year limit. Totally do away with 30 percent of federal agencies, cut the rest by 30 percent, mandatory review every five years.—Meiford
A ‘Stupid’ Sanctuary Push
Dear Daily Signal: Came across you while searching for intel as to this stupid push to make California, my home state, a sanctuary state (“The Left’s Sanctuary Cities Hurt Americans’ Safety”). I’m not a PC-type person, so I’ll do my best to keep this clean. I’m not very happy about this hogwash.
Gov. Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown and his liberal minions have gone over the edge for sure, following his idol Barack Obama—screw things up and then vacate. I’m pretty sure that they can’t just cram this poo down our throats, has to go through a statewide ballot vote in 2018? If not, there’s going to be a load of angry folks, and I’m going to be leading ’em.
We’re up here in Crescent City, California, where both our assemblyman and senator are Democrats. Yeah, just try and try and contact them either by email or phone; they’re busy or won’t reply. I’ve been peeved about this sanctuary stuff and with the cold-blooded murder of Kate Steinle. I just want to know what’s up with these brain-dead liberal politicians.—Stedman Peters
For their own safety, tourists should avoid sanctuary cities (“The Left’s Sanctuary Cities Hurt Americans’ Safety”). Corporations should protect their employees by not scheduling events, conventions, and conferences in sanctuary cities.
Corporations could move their headquarters out of sanctuary cities. Those of us in agreement with the president can shop accordingly. The citizens living in sanctuary cities need some support.—Ken Carroll
Law Enforcement and Monetary Incentive
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding civil forfeiture laws (“These Bad Laws Are Perpetuating Waste and Abuse in Local Government”): When the state of Michigan was settled by families from New England and New York, they had a great distaste for legal actions taken by the civil authorities who were engaged in similar practices.
As a way to prevent “for profit” legal rulings, the territorial Legislature decided to address the issue in the state constitution. From the first constitution to the current one, fines levied for violations of the state penal code are to be given for the support of public libraries and law libraries. The money from fines is distributed by each county on a per capita basis.
This system worked well because it took any monetary incentive out of law enforcement, until the federal asset forfeiture laws were passed.—John Sheridan
On Social Security Reform
Dear Daily Signal: Regarding the commentary “Trump’s Unique Opportunity to Reform Social Security”: Most senior citizens on Social Security receive just over $1,000 per month. Of that, they pay one-third for health insurance/health care. It’s usually the rich or the younger people who want to cut Social Security.
The ceiling of approximately $128,000 on taxable earnings should be raised to at least $250,000. Realistically, Social Security tax should be on all income, without a ceiling. The rich get richer and keep most of their money. The people on welfare in many states receive more money than the majority of people on Social Security.
Remember, the people on Social Security have worked for at least 40 years. They have received very little increase in years, even though the real cost of living has gone up more than the federal government admits. Food items have decreased in size but are at the same price or higher.
For those interested, I wrote a book five years ago, “Solving America’s Debt and Deficit,” that has some important information on how to solve our country’s problems.—Roger H. Ewing
How Are We Doing?
Dear Daily Signal: I am usually short on time, and your emails with news and commentaries are the best, most interesting, and easy to read of all those that I receive. I am so proud of those groups and people who stood up for not passing the “Obamacare-Lite” health bill, including the lawmakers who stood for what they told their constituents they would do. That bill was not presented for debate, or early enough for it to be read, digested, and presented to the American people.—Carolyn Gilbertson
I look forward to getting your Morning Bell email every day. Love the mix of stories, the layouts, and your guidance on all things conservative. Keep up the good work.—Tom Vicari
You all are a twisted and skewed mess. You have no sense of current events. You have no touch with reality. I only look because my sister is into your crap and Fox News’ crap. Weeks have proven you are complete twaddle. Very poor reporting! You are garbage news. I am sure you would be a huge hit in a dictatorship, Nazi Germany in the ’40s, something like that.—Janice Trevino, Klamath Falls, Ore.
Will you please advise the president that cleverly draining the swamp at the price of irregularities and overbearing regulations with an overabundance of budgetary dollars destined for the Defense Department is a slap in the face? Do you have any idea what this is going to do for the disgraceful billions of dollars in surplus already rusting in American salvage and sales lots?—Warren Pugh
Please ask your columnists to refer to President Donald Trump in print as Mr. or President Trump, to further distance him from his predecessor.—Rick Wendling
I really appreciate your thorough addressing of issues in our land. I find the complete reports and Heritage experts’ suggestions for addressing the issues give me a focus for praying for what’s going on.—Nancy Shaffer, Warsaw, Ind.
I haven’t read much of your news, but the comments I’ve read are all right-sided and negative toward Democrats. In fact, really nasty comments. I checked your “about” and see that The Heritage Foundation created this news site. So even though you say you are presenting accurate and true stories, there is no doubt that you are right-leaning and anti-Democrat. Was hoping to find a news site that wasn’t biased. Hard to do these days.—Barbara Hudson
Keep up the commentaries in support of President Trump. A greater number of Americans are beginning to realize the freedoms we lost during the regime of President Obama, and the divisiveness he created while serving as president.—Pierce Smith
In addition to excellent and timely content, thank you for keeping your download bandwidth within reasonable bounds. For people with monthly data caps, this is a big deal. It appears many conservative sites are loading their sites with these data hog “attributes.” Also, I realize you operate on contributions. As a retired person, I wish I could contribute more. I’ll send money when I can, and keep up the good work.—Steve Bayrd