* The US Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision today that mandatory public union dues for home care workers violate workers’ First Amendment rights…
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled that in-home care workers in Illinois who are paid by the state cannot be compelled to pay union dues.
The court held on a 5-4 vote that the free speech and free association rights of the workers were violated but the scope of the ruling was limited because the justices decided not to upend a decades-old practice that lets public-sector unions collect money from workers who do not want union representation.
The case stems from Harris v. Quinn, an Illinois case involving in-home care providers. Illinois and other states have long used Medicaid funds to pay salaries for in-home care workers to assist disabled adults who otherwise might have to be placed in state institutions. The jobs were poorly paid, and turnover was high..
The full opinion is here. I’m still reading through it.
…Adding… From House GOP Leader Jim Durkin…
I applaud the United States Supreme Court’s decision today by siding with Illinoisans Pam and Josh Harris by ruling that a home is not a union shop and that the sensitive decisions regarding the care for a disabled loved one needs to remain with the caregiver and in the home.
In June of 2009, the Governor issued Executive Order 15 which allows for collective bargaining in the home based support services provided, for the most part, by parents and family members of the disabled. Josh Harris suffers from Rubenstein-Taybi syndrome and other physical and mental disabilities. Josh’s mother Pam Harris, is his caregiver. At that time, Pam and Josh lived a few blocks from me and she reached out to me expressing her grave concerns with the Executive Order 15 and how its full implementation would affect her son. I spent an afternoon with her and Josh and witnessed first-hand the daily care she provides her son. I soon introduced HR 720 which called upon the Governor to withdraw EO 15. Despite Pam’s testimony with Josh present, the resolution failed in the Democrat controlled State Government Administration committee. This past year I reintroduced the Resolution.
Pam Harris speaks for the thousands of parents and family members who serve as caregivers. No one other than Pam Harris knows what’s best for Josh and the United States Supreme Court agrees.
…Adding… From the decision…
Just as the State denies personal assistants most of the rights and benefits enjoyed by full-fledged state workers, the State does not assume responsibility for actions taken by personal assistants during the course of their employment. The governing statute explicitly disclaims “vicarious liability in tort.” Ibid. So if a personal assistant steals from a customer, neglects a customer, or abuses a customer, the State washes its hands.
Illinois deems personal assistants to be state employees for one purpose only, collective bargaining, but the scope of bargaining that may be conducted on their behalf is sharply limited. Under the governing Illinois statute, collective bargaining can occur only for “terms and conditions of employment that are within the State’s control.” Ill. Comp. Stat., ch. 20, §2405/3(f ). That is not very much. […]
If respondents’ and the dissent’s views were adopted, a host of workers who receive payments from a governmental entity for some sort of service would be candidates for inclusion within Abood’s reach. Medicare-funded home health employees may be one such group. See Brief for Petitioners 51; 42 U. S. C. §1395x(m); 42 CFR §424.22(a). The same goes for adult foster care providers in Oregon (Ore. Rev. Stat. §443.733 (2013)) and Washington (Wash. Rev. Code §41.56.029 (2012)) and certain workers under the federal Child Care and Development Fund programs (45 CFR §98.2).
From an end-note…
The Court of Appeals held—and we agree—that the First Amend ment claims of the petitioners who work, not in the Rehabilitation Program, but in a different but related program, the “Disabilities Program,” are not ripe. This latter program is similar in its basic structure to the Rehabilitation Program, see App. to Pet. for Cert. 14a, but the Disabilities Program personal assistants have not yet union ized. The Disabilities Program petitioners claim that under Illinois Executive Order No. 2009–15, they face imminent unionization and, along with it, compulsory dues payments. Executive Order No. 2009– 15, they note, is “almost identical to EO 2003–08, except that it targets providers in the Disabilities Program.” Brief for Petitioners 10.
In a 2009 mail-ballot election, the Disabilities Program personal assistants voted down efforts by SEIU Local 73 and American Federa tion State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31 to become their representatives. See App. 27. The record before us does not suggest that there are any further elections currently scheduled. Nor does the record show that any union is currently trying to obtain certification through a card check program. Under these circumstances, we agree with the holding of the Court of Appeals.
Reading the full decision, it’s obvious that at least some in the majority wanted to go much further and get rid of compulsory union dues for all public employees. Obviously, they didn’t have enough votes to get that far, but it may not be long.
…Adding… Commenter “Just Saying” has a very good analogy…
Interesting that some here think that those who do not want to be forced to pay union dues are getting a “free ride.” Yet, business associations often pass legislation that help sectors of industry without requiring those businesses that are helped to be members. It’s the same type of thing. Should businesses that get a tax break from legislation passed by the IMA or IRMA be forced to pay dues to either of those organizations? Of course not.
…Adding… From Gov. Quinn…
“Today’s 5-4 decision by the Supreme Court is disappointing.
“There are thousands of workers who care for our seniors and people with disabilities in Illinois, and they deserve the right to collectively bargain for decent wages, benefits and proper working conditions.
“A high-quality workforce of long-term, in-home care workers gives our most vulnerable citizens the opportunity to live independently in their own homes, instead of forcing them into expensive, long-term care institutions. All people, no matter what their challenges are, deserve the opportunity to choose to live in the community.
“We will continue working to provide quality care for our most vulnerable citizens and we will continue fighting to ensure workers get a fair shake for a hard day’s work.”