Every Public Employee Should Be Watching This Supreme Court Case

The livelihood of public employees is at stake in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The court recently heard arguments in Harris v. Quinn, a case that questions whether public employees who benefit from union representation can be required to share the costs of collective bargaining.

Lawyers from the Big Business-funded National Right to Work Foundation are seeking to overturn an Illinois law allowing public employee home health care workers to be represented by a single union. In turn, the union has the right to collect compulsory fees from the workers it is required to represent to pay the costs of representation.

If the law is overturned, it would open the door to weakening the collective bargaining strength of public employee unions nationwide.

In Illinois, the law has been a “win-win-win” for the state, its home care workers, and the union, writes IAM General Counsel Mark Schneider in a blog post for the Alliance for Justice.

“In the state’s view, this unionized home health care system is a more cost-effective alternative than institutionalized care, and by allowing a union to represent the home-based workers based on a majority-rule vote, the state gains by developing a more stable, well-trained and engaged workforce,” writes Schneider. “The workers, too, have gained much through this system, notably a substantial increase in wages. And, the union got to grow its membership, and prove that it could be a responsible partner in improving the lives of the workers it represents and their communities.”

Despite the danger lurking behind a decision in the plaintiff’s favor, Schneider writes that “the argument did not suggest a great appetite on the Court’s part to embrace a radical change in the law.”

A decision is expected later this year.

Click here to read Schneider’s entire blog post on Harris v. Quinn.

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