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NFIB lawsuit tries to stop forced unionization

January 3, 2014


nfib-logoNational Federation of Independent Business

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center has filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court, challenging a union organizing scheme. In this case, Harris v. Quinn, the Court must decide if forcing homecare providers to affiliate with a union and subsidize union activities violates their rights to free expression and association.

“Forcing homecare providers into unions is just plain wrong and is a serious abuse of workers’ constitutional rights,” said Karen Harned, executive director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center. “We urge the Supreme Court to strike down this dubious scheme and protect the rights of care providers and workers’ First Amendment freedoms.”

In 2010, Pamela Harris and other Illinois home health care providers challenged a forced-unionism order enacted by Illinois Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn on the grounds that it violated their rights to free expression and association by forcing them to subsidize union lobbying. The case came after Quinn signed an executive order designating 4,500 individuals who offer in-home care to disabled persons as “public employees,” therein forcing them to join, and financially support, a union against their will.

The district court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims. On appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed. The appellate court held that the state may require its employees, including personal assistants such as the plaintiffs, to pay fair share fees and further held that the claims of the Disability Program were not ripe for judicial review.

NFIB’s amicus brief argues that it is unconstitutional for states and employers to force anyone to join a union against their will.

Oral arguments for the Supreme Court will be heard on January 21, 2014.

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