'Forced unionism' lawsuit dismissed

There are new developments in a story we first brought you in September. A decision has been made in a battle over private daycare owners being forced to join a union.

A panel of judges has dismissed the case.

Now, Midland's Mackinac Center for Public Policy and the daycares they represent say they'll keep fighting.

Michelle Berry, owner of The Berry Patch Daycare in Flint Township, says "I was shocked. You get a letter in the mail that says you belong to a union. I'm a daycare provider."

Michelle has clients that are on government assistance.

Because of that, a percentage of the money from the state goes to union dues.

She says that's crazy because she's not a government union employee.

"If I'm a government employee, like they say, where are my benefits?"

She turned to the Mackinac Center, who filed a lawsuit trying to stop the Department of Human Services from forcing her into a union.

December 30th, the court simply said it was denied.

Patrick Wright, from the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation, says "By not explaining its rationale, the court really leaves the people in Michigan in limbo as to what the governor's powers are. What can and can't she do? Can she rewrite the laws, as it happened here, to make independent owners government employees."

In cooperation with the UAW, AFSCME, and Mott Community College, and interlocal agreement was reached that created the system for placing independent Michigan daycare providers into a union.

Michelle says, she's benefited nothing from the collective bargaining agreement.

She says, "There's been no communication. We get a deduction out of a check. Where the money goes, I have no clue."

NBC25 contacted Governor Granholm's office and the Department of Human Services.

Here's the response NBC25 got from Edward Woods III, communications director of DHS, "The decision speaks for itself. We have no additional comment on this pending litigation."

The percentage taken out of every subsidy check is 1.15%.

Michelle says, it's not bankrupting her, but that she's fighting on principle that nothing should be taken out.

The Mackinac Center says it may try to change the system through the legislative brach or the executive branch.

The story has gotten national attention in the Wall Street Journal and on national television networks.