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Supreme Court Rules Some Employees Can Opt Out Of Public Employee Unions

law-gavel-lights

Lost amid the anticipation for and reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, the Court also handed down a decision in another case today that could have interesting implications going forward. That case, Harris v. Quinn, deals with the question of whether or not home health care workers in Illinois could be required by the state to join a public employee union. Going into the case, union supporters were exceedingly nervous given other recent Supreme Court rulings on related issues that the decision could result in a ruling that effectively gutted public employee unions. In the end, though, the Court handed down a ruling that, while a victory for the workers seeking exemption from the union requirement, is narrower than it could have been:

The Supreme Court ruled narrowly on Monday that some government employees did not have to pay any fees to labor unions representing them, but the court decision declined to strike down a decades-old precedent that required many public-sector workers to pay union fees.

Writing the majority 5-4 opinion, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. concluded that there was a category of government employee — a partial public employee — who can opt out of joining a union and not be required to contribute dues to that labor group.

Justice Alito wrote that home-care aides who are typically employed by an ill or disabled person with Medicaid’s paying their wages would be classified as partial public employees, which would not be the same as public-school teachers or police officers who work directly for the government.

Because states often set wages for partial public employees like home-care aides and because unions often do not conduct collective bargaining for them, these aides cannot be required to pay union fees, Justice Alito wrote. He wrote that requiring these home-care aides to pay would be a violation of their First Amendment rights.

The case, Harris v. Quinn, was brought by eight Illinois workers who provided home health care to Medicaid recipients. They asked the court to overrule a 1977 decision that declared that government employees can be required to pay fees to unions for representing them and administering their contracts even if they disagree with the union’s positions. The majority declined to overrule that foundational decision, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education — a move that could have significantly cut into the membership and treasuries of public-sector unions.

Illinois and numerous other states require government workers, whether or not they opt to join a union, to pay “fair share” fees to finance a union’s collective bargaining efforts to prevent freeloading and to ensure “labor peace.” But the court in Abood held that workers could not be required to help pay for activities that were purely political, like a union’s lobbying the legislature or campaigning for particular candidates.

The question in Monday’s decision, Harris v. Quinn, No. 11-681, was just where to draw that line.

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation represented the Illinois workers and had argued that Illinois was violating the First Amendment by requiring that government workers pay compulsory fees to unions even when they disagreed with the unions’ positions. The foundation argued that most of what public-sector unions did was inherently political, partly because they rely on the government to pay their members’ wages, pensions and other benefits.

But the Service Employees International Union and the Obama administration urged the court to uphold the legality of “fair-share fees.”

Ever since the Supreme Court agreed to hear this case, labor leaders have voiced fears that a decision banning such dues could badly weaken public-sector unions and their treasuries by causing a million or more government workers nationwide to opt out of paying any representation fees to the unions at their workplaces.

During oral arguments in January, Justice Elena Kagan, said the position taken by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation “would radically restructure the way workplaces across this country are run.”

But Justice Anthony Kennedy asked whether it would be constitutional for a union to “take money from an employee who objects to the union’s position on fundamental political grounds.”

In a decision two years ago, Justice Alito opened the door to the ruling on Monday. In that case, Knox v. Service Employees International Union, the union required workers to pay a special midyear assessment to finance campaign activities on two California ballot measures — although the union gave workers the right to opt out.

As Noah Feldman notes, this ruling isn’t the union killer that some feared, but it confirms something about the direction the Court is taking:

The background to the case is a landmark decision called Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. When it was decided in 1977, Abood said public employees couldn’t be forced to join a union — that might interfere with their right to free association — but they could be forced to pay their fair share of union dues that pay for collective bargaining. Any portion of dues that would’ve gone to general political speech was deducted. This amounted to a compromise between unions, which wanted nonmembers to be forced to join or pay full dues, and anti-union activists, who wanted workers to be able to opt out completely. One of the Supreme Court’s explicit objectives was to create labor peace.

Today’s opinion reflects how unions’ political power has diminished since 1977. The plaintiffs in the case were home health-care aides who didn’t want to either join the union that Illinois created or pay the “fair share” equivalent of dues. In practice, they argued, making people pay for the union is little different from making them join it — and just as much a violation of the First Amendment right to free association.

Justice Samuel Alito would’ve liked to overrule Abood, he made clear in his opinion, stating in his introduction that the case involved a state requirement to “compel” the home health aides “to subsidize speech on matters of public concern.” This formulation assumes that collective bargaining constitutes speech on a matter of public concern. Thus it contradicts the basic logic of Abood, which reasoned to the contrary that public employees would not have to pay that portion of the dues that went to public political speech.

Ultimately, though, Alito stopped short of overturning the precedent. Presumably he couldn’t get Justice Anthony Kennedy to join him; although these days who knows — it might also have been Chief Justice John Roberts who didn’t want a drastic anti-union holding. Instead, Alito took the unusual step of distinguishing the Illinois home health-care aides’ union from the union in Abood. He then said that the court declined to “extend” Abood to the different situation — because the premises of the 1977 precedent were weak.

Alito’s distinction between the two unions was rather implausible. True, as public unions go, the home health-care aides’ union is a bit unusual. The workers are hired, fired and largely controlled by the Illinois residents who are entitled to home health-care coverage under state law. The court said this made the union only a “partial” public union, not a full one.

But the aides’ salaries are paid by the state, so their union’s negotiating partner is the state. Conditions of employment are regulated by state law. In practical terms, therefore, there is no meaningful distinction between the Illinois union and public unions more generally.

The second step of Alito’s dance is stranger still: He eviscerated the logic of Abood. He rejected altogether the case’s core distinction between dues in support of unions’ political speech and dues in support of unions’ collective-bargaining activities. By this logic, Abood should have been overturned. Yet Alito insisted — or was made to insist — he was declining only to extend the case to partial public unions.

As a matter of logic, Alito isn’t altogether wrong. It is, in fact, pretty difficult to distinguish union speech militating for higher wages and better working conditions from other, more general political speech. And over the years the Supreme Court has become increasingly solicitous of free-association rights, even as it has become increasingly anti-union.

Without digging down into the depths of Abood, I think the Court ended up being mostly correct here. As a threshold issue, there’s always been a problem with the idea that anyone should be forced to join or contribute to a union. In and of itself, that would seem to be a violation of the First Amendment’s provisions regarding the right to assemble, which obviously includes a  right not to be forced to assemble.  Additionally, to the extent that union dues go to support political activities that an individual member may disagree with, that would appear to be a clear violation of the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of speech. The distinction that Abood and other case law has attempted to make between dues meant solely to go toward collective bargaining and those that go toward political activity appears has always seemed to me as if it were a distinction without a difference. In the end, the money all goes into the same pot. Given that, it seems pretty clear to me that Abood  should be overruled. There is nothing wrong with unionization. There is, however, something very wrong with compulsory unionization, especially when it is made mandatory by the government for a job that is only a “government” job in the most tangential way possible, which is the case with the home health care workers in Illinois.

The Court didn’t go that far, of course, but that isn’t surprising because this is generally how courts act, and how the Roberts Court in particular has acted. For all the claims of radicalism and overreach that you hear from one side of the political aisle or the other when a decision is handed down, the truth is that courts generally try to limit their holdings to the facts of the case in front of them and avoid making rulings that would take radical steps. Two years ago, for example, Chief Justice Roberts surprised everyone when he authored the opinion that upheld the Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. In reality, much of what Roberts did there can be explained by the general reluctance of courts to hold legislative acts to be wholly unconstitutional, and to uphold them if there is an argument that can be made that does so. The same is true of the Court’s own previous opinions, which is why its not so surprising that Alito and the majority stopped short of striking Abood down. It may well be the case that the holdings in that case are doomed to be overturned, but that will have to await another day, another case, and another court.

Here’s the opinion:

Harris v. Quinn by Doug Mataconis

Related Posts:

About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Moosebreath says:

    “As a threshold issue, there’s always been a problem with the idea that anyone should be forced to join or contribute to a union. In and of itself, that would seem to be a violation of the First Amendment’s provisions regarding the right to assemble, which obviously includes a right not to be forced to assemble.”

    Funny how the typical response of people on the right side of the divide to allegedly burdensome requirements which go with jobs, such as in the Hobby Lobby case today (that they are not forced to remain in that job) does not apply here. That is only the response when it’s imposed by the employer, not the union.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Is that an accurate statement of what the case was about, Doug? My impression was that it was about the ability of the union to force non-members to pay dues as a condition of employment.

    The little I’ve read of the opinion has shown that it hinged on a distinction between full union members and partial or non-members.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As a threshold issue, there’s always been a problem with the idea that anyone should be forced to join or contribute to a union. In and of itself, that would seem to be a violation of the First Amendment’s provisions regarding the right to assemble, which obviously includes a right not to be forced to assemble.”

    Nobody, EVER, in the history of the United States of America, has been forced to join a union. Show me on instance Doug. One single instance. Let me save you the time: You can’t.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  4. michael reynolds says:

    Conservatives love to attack unions and then complain about the disappearing middle class. When you take away the power to negotiate collectively for wages, the result is falling wages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. superdestroyer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    However, there are many instances where is a blue collar worker wants the highest paying job in town, they have to join the union and have part of their pay support political causes that they may not support.

    What no one has pointed out if that the federal work force operates on the same rules that the in-home care providers will be operating under. Even the most hardcore liberal has not yet pushed to make the federal workforce a closed union shop.

    Also, where did all the support for civil liberties go for our resident progressives. If people are choose when it comes to their sex life, their use of drug, and their living arrangements, shouldn’t people be free to decide if they want to join a union are not. On the other hand, if progressives are really just big government bullies, it makes sense that they would force people to join unions in order to have a job.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. michael reynolds says:

    @superdestroyer:

    You are perfectly free not to join a union – don’t take a job in a union shop.

    See how easy that is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  7. John D'Geek says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Nobody, EVER, in the history of the United States of America, has been forced to join a union. Show me on instance Doug. One single instance.

    Me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. beth says:

    @John D’Geek: No I’m sure you had the option of not taking the job (just like women who need birth control are free to not take a job with an employer who chooses not to cover it).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  9. jim m says:

    This was a good ruling. What Quin was doing was effectively taxing people who provided care to their disabled family members and giving that money to the union. It was a despicable act and took money away from people who were already struggling with healthcare expenses and other issues. I’m saddened that 4 justices thought that stealing money from the disabled and their family was a good idea.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  10. Robert Levine says:

    Two things:

    1) I suspect the holdout against overturning Abood was Scalia, not Kennedy. Scalia was far harder on the plaintiff than on the government in oral argument. In addition, the dissent highlighted Scalia’s writing on the subject on agency fees, suggesting that the minority hopes to keep Scalia on board if the issue comes before the Court in the future.

    2) We are immersed in compelled speech. I am compelled to support the speech of oil companies when I fill up my car – or even when I ride the bus. If I am a state employee, in most states I’m compelled to make a contribution to a pension fund, which of course invests in companies that make political donations – a point made by Benjamin Sachs. It seems impossible to make a meaningful distinction between a state forcing employees to fund corporations’ political speech and a a state mandating union agency fees – even if one concedes that everything that public unions do is really political speech, which is dubious at best.

    The Court is very concerned about the compelled speech of people who don’t want to pay union dues; the rest of us can go pound sand, it seems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  11. Robert Levine says:

    @jim m: Of course the union had nothing at all to do with the fact that the reimbursement rates went from $7 per hour to $13 and that the providers had benefits.

    Perhaps what’s “despicable” is the act of negotiating for workers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  12. Eric Florack says:

    @Moosebreath: Well, now let’s examine this.
    What choice do healthcare workers have, with government quickly taking over all healthcare?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  13. jim m says:

    @Robert Levine: Living in Illinois I can tell you that the people who were suing were family members taking care of their disabled loved ones. They never asked the union to do anything for them and the union has no business demanding payment from them. By that rationale you could forcibly unionize the entire nation by claiming that everyone has benefited by better workplace laws. That would be foolish indeed. These people were not regular healthcare workers, they were family members helping their loved ones. To treat them like full time employees was neither fair nor honest. This was a very unpopular act by the governor and was little more than a greedy power play.

    Now, I don’t see this having much effect on Abood. I don’t detect any interest in the court in reviewing that and I don’t think that a majority could be found to overturn it (I think you would lose both Kennedy and Scalia on that).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. jim m says:

    @Robert Levine: So you are saying that if your family member were to become disabled and that you were forced to take care of them that you would gladly pay dues to a union that was doing nothing to assist you in the care of your loved one? I find that rather unlikely. You would want that money to help your loved one, which is what it was intended to do.

    This is not like a regular employment situation where people can choose what they do and who they work for. This is a situation, often tragic, where people have been forced into unfortunate circumstances and the unions were taking advantage of them with the complicity of the state. This was the SEUI preying upon the disabled and they should be ashamed for doing so. If their negotiations for their members in some way benefited these people (who are a small number compared to their union membership) then they should have said, “You’re welcome” and taken some justified good will. Instead they tried to take the money they were relying upon to treat their loved ones.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    As a threshold issue, there’s always been a problem with the idea that anyone should be forced to join or contribute to a union. In and of itself, that would seem to be a violation of the First Amendment’s provisions regarding the right to assemble, which obviously includes a right not to be forced to assemble.”

    Nobody, EVER, in the history of the United States of America, has been forced to join a union. Show me on instance Doug. One single instance. Let me save you the time: You can’t.

    Ozark, note the two separate clause — “forced to join OR contribute to.” Those are the two choices presented in closed shops — you can pay and join the union, or you can pay and not join the union. Either way, you’re paying.

    And this was a very specific case — the people “unionized” were family members of disabled people receiving public benefits. The union fought to have those family members declared public employees and members of their union, then having their union dues taken out of their payments. They were fighting to take money away from disabled people.

    That’s what you’re defending here, Ozark. That’s what the unions were doing.

    They’re damned lucky if this doesn’t lead to wholesale dismantling of public sector unions. I’d like to see that happen, and this is one of the reasons why.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  16. bill says:

    @michael reynolds: what’s wrong with competition? unions are solely in the business of making money for themselves anyway, the days of union “labor” are pretty much over since they can be outperformed by a billion others across the sea. and no, we don’t want to become “europe” do we?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Robert Levine says:

    @jim m: “The union never did anything for them.”

    Quoting from the dissent:

    Because of that bargaining [between the union and the State], as the majority acknowledges, home-care assistants have nearly doubled their wages in less than 10 years, obtained state-funded health insurance, and benefited from better training and workplace safety measures.

    I’d have no problem with Harris giving that all back if she’d like. I don’t think she would.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  18. Robert Levine says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    They weren’t “fighting to take money away from disabled people.” You make them sound like Republicans. They were trying to get those who benefited from collective bargaining to pay their share of the expenses of that bargaining. I don’t see any of the objectors volunteering to give back to the State the wage and benefit increases the union negotiated for them. Perhaps they should.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  19. Moosebreath says:

    @bithead:

    “What choice do healthcare workers have, with government quickly taking over all healthcare?”

    Since your question starts with a false premise, it is garbage. No health care worker has gone from being a private to a public employee. And even if a worker did, it would have zero to do with being forced to pay union dues.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. jim m says:

    @Robert Levine: That’s a fatuous reply if there ever was one. The plaintiff in this case was the mother of a disable person who relied upon those payments to make ends meet. So this really was stealing money from the disabled.

    No matter how you try to weasel out of it and pretend that this is somehow state employees trying to duck out of paying dues this case was always about private citizens with no relation to the union who were being preyed upon by an amoral and voracious union after their means of support and willing to ruin them in the name of gathering political funding.

    No one is going to believe that family members taking care of disabled loved ones should be forced to pay union dues. These people are not being paid for their services, the money they receive is to pay for their healthcare expenses. Money taken away from these people is money taken away from the care of the disabled.

    It might be good to note that other states have already rejected this disgusting scam. Michigan ended this practice as the state felt that it was wrong. The state was correct. These people were having Medicaid payments taken away because the union was greedy. Medicaid, not salary.

    So I take it that you would want to have a portion of any Medicaid reimbursement paid to you to be taken out and given to a union that was doing nothing to help you and your family member. Somehow I doubt that you would be voluntarily sending the SEIU money in that case.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. jim m says:

    @Robert Levine: Harris was not employed as a home care assistant. Calling her an employee is a falsehood to begin with.

    Sorry, but nothing you say will convince me that family members taking care of their loved ones should be forced to pay union dues under any circumstances, and especially that they should have Medicaid payments docked for those dues.

    What ever happened to the left’s claim that they are for the little guy? I guess it was only ever a pose. You don’t give a damn about people or their ability to access healthcare. This lays the lie to you stance on the Hobby Lobby case as well. It isn’t about healthcare it is about political power and ramming your agenda down everyone else’s throats and who gives a damn who gets hurt as long as you get your way.

    Sad really. If you actually cared about others you might get something done. But then again if you ever accomplished those things you claimed to support then you wouldn’t be able to hold them out as things that you will provide your supporters. It’s all about the promise and never about the delivery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  22. beth says:

    @Robert Levine: I know someone who cared for her disabled husband. Guess what wasn’t covered by Medicare or Medicaid ((I don’t remember exactly what program he was on)? Adult diapers. I guess the supermarket where she bought them was preying on disabled people by making her pay for them. Yep, I bet they were stealing money away from disabled people, right? And hey, their doctors charge them too! Are they stealing money from the disabled? Really, that whole line of argument is just nonsense. People, even in dire situations, need services that cost money and someone has to pay for them.

    Let me be clear that I think the state grossly overreached by considering these people employees of the state. I think any monies they get for caring for their relatives should be classified as part of the funds expended for whatever program is paying for them, eg being just another line item in Medicare/caid. However, I do feel that if they are going to get the advantage of benefits negotiated by a union, the program should have some way to reimburse the union for their portion of the negotiating fees. It should be a nominal amount and come out of the budget for the program.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  23. wr says:

    @Robert Levine: “Perhaps what’s “despicable” is the act of negotiating for workers.”

    Well he made it clear in the other thread that he believes that employees who expect to be paid for worker are really looking for a free ride…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  24. jim m says:

    @beth:

    However, I do feel that if they are going to get the advantage of benefits negotiated by a union, the program should have some way to reimburse the union for their portion of the negotiating fees.

    So if you are caring for someone and the union negotiates a small increase in your benefits they should be able to levy dues on the entirety of those benefits not just the portion they increased? That is what they are claiming they have the right to. They are also negotiating without your consent so they have no right to do so and then demand payment from you.

    As for your adult diaper analogy, it would be preying upon you if they charged you more, which is essentially what the union is asking. The union did not provide anything related to care of the patient yet they were demanding dues based on a claim that they enhanced Medicaid reimbursement an action that was never requested of them in the first place.

    It is really hard to justify forcing family members to have to pay this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. jim m says:

    @wr: I don’t consider workers freeloaders except when you start demanding that you have rights to your benefits, You don’t. I have been around long enough and seen companies change their benefits to know better. Nor do I believe that companies reducing benefits is in any way equivalent to those companies infringing upon your rights to do what you want in your private life.

    My employer is not required to give me any benefits. By the same token if my employer were to cut all my benefits I would not hang around for long. People working for Hobby Lobby have the right to leave their employment there and go somewhere that gives them the benefits that they want. But that is another thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. beth says:

    @jim m: I strongly disagree. The family members are accepting the Medicaid reimbursements for caring for their relatives and I didn’t hear about any of them turning down the extra monies and benefits that were negotiated by the union. Should union negotiators work for free? Most of the people being paid by the Medicaid reimbursements are not family members but outside home healthcare workers who were being underpaid and overworked. Should they not be allowed to unionize and demand a fair wage and working hours simply because some of the people in the program are caring for family members? They should give up all that for a few people?

    Again, I never said I agreed with making the family members pay. There’s should be monies baked into the Medicaid budget to deal with this nominal cost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  27. Eric Florack says:

    @michael reynolds: (cough, cough, Detroit, cough)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  28. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Robert Levine: They were trying to get those who benefited from collective bargaining to pay their share of the expenses of that bargaining. I don’t see any of the objectors volunteering to give back to the State the wage and benefit increases the union negotiated for them. Perhaps they should.

    @beth: The family members are accepting the Medicaid reimbursements for caring for their relatives and I didn’t hear about any of them turning down the extra monies and benefits that were negotiated by the union. Should union negotiators work for free?

    There’s a legal principle whose precise name I can’t recall but it says that you can’t create an obligation in someone else without their permission.

    In marketing, it’s known as “the negative option.” It’s how things like record and book clubs used to work — they send you a new item each month, then bill you, unless you send it back or ask them to stop. The difference there was, you had to voluntarily sign up for it first.

    What you don’t get to do is give someone something of value, out of the blue, and then demand payment. And that’s what the union did here. That’s the law, and it’s also just plain common sense.

    So, why didn’t the union explicitly exclude these people from their negotiations? Maybe they thought that they were decent folks, and deserved a little help, no strings attached.

    Nope. The unions were doing it purely to attach those strings. They wanted these people’s money, and their numbers added to their rolls. And to hell with what those people actually wanted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  29. al-Ameda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    What choice do healthcare workers have, with government quickly taking over all healthcare?

    What country do you live in, Great Britain?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  30. grumpy realist says:

    Maybe we should make a distinction between people being caretakers for their own families and caretakers for other people’s families? Or higher wages for people who have volunteered to join the home-workers union vs. those who aren’t in it?

    I’ve gotten a bit more hard-nosed about all the moaning about how we don’t pay homecare workers enough: it’s very simple. Go on strike until you get higher wages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Another Mike says:

    @jim m:

    This was a good ruling.

    Yes, this was a good ruling. I am a care provider for a disabled family member, but this ruling does not affect me. The court slapped back the cold hand of tyranny.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: “I’ve gotten a bit more hard-nosed about all the moaning about how we don’t pay homecare workers enough: it’s very simple. Go on strike until you get higher wages.”

    That’s why it’s so important to crush the unions right now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. grumpy realist says:

    @wr: Well, you don’t have to be in a union to refuse to do unpaid or ill-paid work. But you’re going to have to stand up for yourself, rather than do nothing than whine about it.

    It’s the same thing about the recent changes in NJ alimony laws. Obviously something like this is going to be passed by a bunch of legislators who are on their second or third wives and don’t want to have to continue to carry the alimony load for the rest of their lives. I’m sure we’re going to read a lot of bitching and moaning on a lot of women’s blogs about How Unfair It All Is and How No One Appreciates Us. To which I answer: create your own lobbying group and fight back. Get. The. Laws. Fixed. No one else will care, so it’s your own responsibility.

    (I really am grumpy about women who deliberately put themselves in positions of financial risk, stick their heads in the sand, then complain when things go wrong. Even worse, complain that someone else isn’t fixing the problem for them. Sheesh.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Sherparick says:

    @jim m: The union in Harris had negotiated a higher fee rate for the home care workers being reimbursed by the State of Illinois and that fee was incorporated into the state law providing the reimbursement. The home care workers were charged a fee by the union for this “representation and negotiation” service on their behalf which the state had endorsed s part of the way or providing these medical services. No one was forced to join a union, but they were asked to pay a fee for services provided that raised their income and terms of employment.

    Further, the court’s concern for the “employee’s” First Amendment Rights not to be associated with a union is contrasted with the complete lack of concern for such rights the Roberts courts shows to employees vis-a-vis their employer. Because they have not been able to square that circle is probably the only reason 5 votes were not available to reverse the Abood decision in the Harris case. http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/07/harris-v-quinn-symposium-abood-and-the-limits-of-cognitive-dissonance/

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