Don’t look now, but another case of common sense may have broken out among the Supremes in Harris v. Quinn. In a ruling handed down yesterday that’s been largely overshadowed by the Hobby Lobby decision, the high court recognized that the forced unionization of home healthcare workers is – duh – little more than a Ponzi scheme designed to fill union coffers at the expense of workers’ First Amendment rights.
The court ruled 5-4 that Illinois home healthcare workers should not be considered full-fledged state employees and thus can’t be forced to either join a union or pay representation fees to one. While the ruling may be a major setback for SEIU, it’s a breath of freedom for those who are fed up with union thievery and thuggery.
Reports Fox News:
In a ruling Monday, the high court held that Service Employees International Union cannot force people who care for loved ones to be union members and deduct dues from the government checks of those they care for. The practice has gone on for several years in a handful of states, creating a lucrative stream of cash for the powerful labor organization, which represents more than 2 million workers and takes in about $300 million per year.
“The whole point of the decision was that the folks milked by the SEIU weren’t really public employees and should not be forced to pay union dues at all,” said Hans Bader, senior attorney for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “So they should be able to sue for refund of their compelled union dues back as far as the statute of limitations will allow.
The Michigan suit originated when Mackinac plaintiff Patricia Harris objected to how SEIU took dues out of entitlement checks “she and her husband used to care for their two adult children who are afflicted with cerebral palsy.” She also didn’t want her union dues going to support causes or issues with which she did not agree. Harris receives a modest subsidy from a Medicaid-waiver program that allows her to stay home and take care of Joshua. “She isn’t a state employee; she just gets a check so Joshua can be at home and not in an institution.”
Then Gov. Pat Quinn and the Service Employees International Union got involved. In 2009 Quinn issued an executive order (hi, Barack) authorizing the state to recognize an “exclusive representative” – a union – for home care providers like Harris:
Rick Berman, executive director of Center for Union Facts, said the decision could spark several class-action suits in states where the union collected dues from people who didn’t willingly join.
“It could be a case where individual people bring suit for restitution,” Berman said. “In any particular state where dues were collected this way, that would definitely meet the test for a class action, because they would be similarly situated.”
Even if workers previously classified as public-sector union workers can’t claw back dues that were improperly collected, the ruling will have a big negative impact on SEIU going forward,” he added.
“I don’t know if they’re going to have to give the money they collected back, but they won’t be able to deduct it that way going forward, and that is a big hit,” Berman said.
While the legal dust from this case is still settling, the court’s action may mean employees could be allowed to opt out of union participation altogether. This scenario could devastate the SEIU if – horrors – employees who are tired of union thuggery and thievery opt out in droves.
Even worse for libs: one of their big cash cow may be drying up.
Liberals get it (for once). Right on cue, liberals launched into “world ends tomorrow” mode, painting the Harris v. Quinn decision as a “right wing majority attack” on healthcare workers.
They’re also blubbering that “the right is “weaponizing” the First Amendment, an interesting whine from the same folks who routinely wield “First Amendment” as a cudgel whenever it suits their liberal purposes.
Not to worry. Just in case the world doesn’t end tomorrow, stay tuned for more weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth as libs decry “how the Court can do more to destroy unions in the future and the radical departure from precedent in the Hobby Lobby decision.”
Cry me a river.
Read more here.
Photo credit: Public domain.