The Supreme Court made a ruling that will have a big impact on unions — including Oregon. Today the Court ruled that an Illinois health care union could not force in-home health care workers to pay fees for the union’s collective bargaining costs. Oregon and Washington are among the select states (California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Vermont) that have state unions that force in-home health workers to join a union and pay dues. Below is a news release from the National Right to Work Defense Fund that explains the decision on the Harris v. Quinn case.
National Right to Work Defense Fund Press Release
National Right to Work Foundation attorneys defend home-based personal care providers forced into union ranks
Washington, DC (June 30, 2014) – Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in a case over whether Illinois homecare providers can be forced into union ranks against their will.
The case, Harris v. Quinn, is a class-action lawsuit argued by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys and filed by Pam Harris and seven other Illinois care providers after Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed an executive order rendering them vulnerable to unwanted union organizing.
Quinn’s executive order mirrored one issued by disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich, which designated over 20,000 personal care providers as “public employees” solely for the purpose of forcing them into union ranks. Quinn then expanded Blagojevich’s directive to cover an additional 4,500 providers who were not included in the original order. The scheme only designated providers as public employees for the purposes of unionization, leaving the homecare recipients as the employers for all other aspects of the providers’ work.
The Court’s ruling struck down the scheme, ruling that individuals who indirectly receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees. The Court’s ruling renders unconstitutional similar homecare unionization schemes attempted in at least 18 other states.
For example, a federal lawsuit brought by Minnesota childcare providers subject to a similar scheme has been held pending the outcome of the Harris case.
“This scheme, which forced parents and other relatives taking care of persons with disabilities into union political association was a slap in the face of fundamental American principles we hold dear,” stated Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We applaud these homecare providers’ effort to convince the Supreme Court to strike down this constitutionally-dubious scheme, thus freeing thousands of homecare providers from unwanted union control.”
“We celebrate knowing that Illinois moms linked arms and refused to be bullied,” stated lead plaintiff Pam Harris. “Families in Illinois can relax knowing their homes are safe from being a union workplace and there will be no third party intruding into the care we provide our disabled sons and daughters.”