In a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States delivered a vicious blow to labor unions in that partial public employees are not required to pay union fees. The SCOTUS ruling, among others that play to the Right, will make expanding union benefits to the public more difficult.
The decision stems from the Harris v. Quinn case that argued partial public employees should be exempt from paying public union fees. Traditionally, state-supported home care workers in Illinois, where the case originated, are considered to be employees of the state. The union, SEIU Healthcare Illinois-Indiana, has a contract with the state of Illinois and all workers covered under that contract are required to pay fees.
This arrangement helps the workers because they can enjoy the benefits of the labor union, and the union also benefits because the fees help fund the union to better serve its members. The Huffington Post reported that “since unions have to represent all the employees in a particular bargaining unit, the commonly seek requirements in their contracts that all workers pay such ‘fair share’ fees.”
But in Pamela Harris’s case, the plaintiff didn’t want to pay her fair share of the collective fees. She filed the suit on behalf of a likeminded group of partial home care employees claiming that the fees violated First Amendment rights of free speech. The ruling doesn’t involve those considered to be full-fledged employees.
The ruling was basically a right-wing handout because the workers, like Harris, received Medicare funding to do their jobs, which makes them, albeit partial, state employees. The conservative-slanted SCOTUS has dealt yet another blow to the greater public by playing to desires of a select few.