Supreme Court limits public employee unions’ rights

On June 30, in a 5-4 decision (with Justice Alito writing the decision for the majority), the U.S. Supreme Court has struck a blow to our brothers and sisters in the labor movement in their attempts to represent home healthcare workers in Illinois (and with this decision, all states in the country).

Although the court ruled against SEIU in Harris V Quinn, and the union’s ability to collect fair share dues from non-members, the decision was a narrow one that will apply only to home healthcare workers and their unions, but not to other public employees.  The decision specifically states the criteria by which the home health workers in Illinois are not “full fledged” public employees (i.e., the patients hire and fire the assistants, not the public agency; the employees and employer do not have a common workplace). The Court ruled that these employees are only “public employees” for organizing purposes and not in the sense of a “regular” government employee.

Though the decision is a setback for organizing efforts across the country, it DOES NOT affect the membership of Local 21 – we represent what the court deemed “full fledged” public employees, and the decision does not deal with these types of employees. We believe that the Abood decision, which created fair share agreements in the public sector, is solid and will withstand any legal challenge it may face.

For more information on this week’s results, please see the decision and accompanying analysis below:

Supreme Court Opinion

BREAKING: Supreme Court Deals Sharp Blow To Public Sector Unions

Harris v. Quinn ruling: Unions hit, but not fatally, by SCOTUS