Supreme Court Ruling On Union Fees Expected Soon

By Doug Cunningham

A ruling is expected soon from the U.S. Supreme Court in the important union case Harris v. Quinn. The National Right To Work Foundation – an anti-union group – found some anti-union workers to sue the state of Illinois claiming that compulsory payments to SEIU in return for collective bargaining services violates First Amendment rights to free association. The state extended public worker collective bargaining rights to home health care workers paid through Medicaid money who work in private homes. SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana President Keith Kelleher says “fair share fees” that unions deduct from worker paychecks for collective bargaining representation are fully constitutional. Gilda Brown is an Illinois home health care worker who sees the benefits of collective bargaining fees. She was featured in a video produced by SEIU.

[Gilda Brown]: “When I got started I was being paid $6.35. And now because of negotiating and different things like that, with my union, we get thirteen dollars this year. With my union I get benefits, like going to the doctor. We get training because when I started like I said I had no training, And anything that you do and you get better service you get better at it.”

Workers who are covered by collective bargaining contracts can legally be compelled to pay a fair share fee to the union. Kelleher says that so far two federal courts have rejected this attack on collective bargaining funding and SEIU believes the U.S. Supreme Court will reject the attack as well.

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