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Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeNewsUSSupreme Court Deals Unions Devastating Blow, Strikes Down Forced Contributions

Supreme Court Deals Unions Devastating Blow, Strikes Down Forced Contributions

supreme courtIn a 5 – 4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled unions cannot force employees to contribute to unions, adding more woes to an already-challenged movement waning in political power.

While the ruling in the case, Harris v. Quinn, is a significant blow to the effort to expand public employee unions, it does not gut them.

The majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, was 39 pages, while the dissent was 25 and written by Justice Kagan.

The case surrounded Pamela Harris, a home health care worker, who serves as the primary caretaker for her son, Josh, who has a rare genetic syndrome. She receives Medicaid funds and the unions argued that she essentially functions as a state employee.

She challenged unions over their requirement and decision to characterized her as a state employee, simply for acting as a nurse for her son. Service Employee International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Illinois-Indiana, the union that represents publicly employed home care workers, automatically deducts membership dues from employees’ paychecks under the collective bargaining agreement it has with the state.

She said she never intended to gut public unions, but that she “wanted to preserve the relationship between family members,” specifically a mother and a son, and a mother’s right to take care of her son without compulsion.

Labor unions argue that if Illinois is allowed to back out of its collective bargaining agreement, it would be only be a matter of time before workers see their wages cut and benefits dropped.

Union leaders also fear that conservative judges across the country will use the ruling in Harris’ case to strike down laws in 26 states that currently require public-sector employees such as teachers and police officers, to fork over dues to the unions that negotiate contracts on their behalf even if the employee doesn’t want to become a union member.

It is still possible that the high court can overturn prior precedent and completely forbid requiring public employees to contribute to union bargaining, rather than membership dues. However, the decision today stopped short of that. Nevertheless, the unions have lost a tool of coercion they’ve used to expand their membership, reach and political power for decades.

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Latest comments

  • Great news!

    • And the just announced Hobby Lobby victory in the Supreme Court as well. Great news indeed!

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