In the less-widely covered opinion released today in Harris v Quinn, a 5-4 Supreme Court ruled that home health care providers cannot be forced to pay union dues to a union (in this case SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana) of which they are not members. Lower courts had ruled in favor of the union, “concluding that the (Personal Assistants) were state employees” for purposes of forced contribution to a union which has a collective bargaining agreement with the state.
The Court’s plain-language ruling: “The First Amendment prohibits the collection of an agency fee from Rehabilitation Program PAs who do not want to join or support the union.” The opinion, written by Justice Samuel Alito, notes that “PAs are almost entirely answerable to the customers and not to the State, do not enjoy most of the rights and benefits that inure to state employees, and are not indemnified by the State for claims against them arising from actions taken during the course of their employment.”
Unfortunately, the Court did not tackle the broader question of whether government employees could be forced to pay union dues to unions they do not want to be members of.
It is rather shocking that four Supreme Court justices would disagree with the opinion and shows just how on-the-brink this nation is…
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