In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions Monday, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover the union’s costs of collective bargaining. They ruled that it violates the First Amendment.
In a 5-4 split along ideological lines, the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.
Unions were looking to bolster their membership and bankrolls by enrolling tens of thousand of in-home care workers.
In-home workers includes parents who are being paid to care for their handicapped children in Illinois for example. This is money meant for the children not unions.
The SEIU was collecting union dues from Medicaid reimbursements to parents or other caregivers who stay home to care for their severely disabled children.
The Washington Examiner first reported this in November 2011. Robert and Patricia Haynes live in Michigan with their two adult children, who have cerebral palsy. The state government provides the family with insurance through Medicaid, but also treats them as caregivers.
The SEIU decided this makes them public employees and thus members of the union. They took $30 out of the family’s monthly Medicaid subsidy, claiming it was union dues.
The practice ended with the Republican Governor.
The same thing is going on in Illinois. Pam Harris is the mother of a son with a rare genetic disorder and severe intellectual and developmental disabilities.
She is allowed to stay home and care for her child while receiving a check. It keeps him from being institutionalized at great expense to the state.
In 2009, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, at the behest of SEIU, issued an Executive Order making people like Pam Harris employees and requiring them to accept SEIU as their union and to whom they must pay dues from their disbursement.
Pam Harris fought back with the help of the National Right to Work Foundation.
If you will remember, in 2011, the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees worked with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission to conduct a vote-by-mail union election to unionize day care workers in Michigan. Only 6,000 responded, but it was enough apparently to mandate all day care owners be instantly unionized under the newly-formed Child Care Providers Together Michigan union.
They collected $3.7 million in union dues that year alone by taking money out of child care subsidies the state pays to day care workers.