- Associated Press - Thursday, May 1, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - Membership and dues have fallen at a union of health care workers after a Michigan law ended representation of home-based aides, according to reports filed with the government.

SEIU Healthcare Michigan said membership dropped to about 11,000 at the end of 2013, compared to 55,000 in 2012. Dues fell 37 percent to $7.1 million during the same time.

A message seeking comment was left with the union Thursday. It also represents people who work at health care businesses.

SEIU Healthcare represented roughly 42,000 Michigan home-based aides, who are hired by a person who needs help. Some aides are family members who assist with bathing, meals, medication and other tasks. They are paid with state subsidies but don’t get benefits such as vacation, pension or sick days like a typical state worker.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, backed by Republicans who control the Legislature, signed a 2012 law that says the aides are independent contractors and don’t qualify for a union.

A relationship between the union and workers began under Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a Democrat. After state regulators said the workers qualified for a union, more than 80 percent of 8,000 ballots were cast in favor of SEIU in 2005.

Granholm also paved the way for union representation of home day-care workers who get state subsidies. That also was stopped under Snyder.

Conservative critics complained that Granholm simply was helping her allies in organized labor at a time when union membership was slipping. SEIU said it helped raise the pay of home aides to about $8 an hour and provided training.

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