Supreme Court to rule on case involving unions, governor and Win - New York News

Supreme Court to rule on case involving unions, governor and Winthrop Harbor mom

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WINTHROP HARBOR, Ill. - On Monday morning, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down its opinion on a case involving a Winthrop Harbor woman which could have a significant impact on the future of public sector unions.

Illinois state law allows Pam Harris to work as the full time caregiver for her son Josh, who is severely disabled. She is paid by Medicaid. 

But when Gov. Quinn signed an executive order allowing caregivers like Harris  to be unionized, she filed a lawsuit, saying she's technically not a state employee and complaining that her son's Medicaid benefits would go toward a union she doesn't support,  in violation of her First Amendment rights.

"This is public dollars intended to support individuals with disabilities. It is not public funding intended to support the union," Harris said.

Harris lost in the lower courts, but last fall, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear her appeal. If Harris wins, public employee unions could suffer a major setback. Membership and dues could fall dramatically, as would their political clout. The  Service Employees International Union, which  along with Governor Quinn  is a defendant in the case, told FOX 32 News the SEIU  provides important benefits for it's members and the people they care for.

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