Supreme Court: Union fees for partial state employees violates r - New York News

Supreme Court: Union fees for partial state employees violates rights

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - A Winthrop Harbor mother who challenged Governor Quinn on an issue of union membership got her long awaited decision from the U.S. Supreme Court Monday. FOX 32 Legal Analyst Larry Yellen was at her home when the ruling came down.

Shortly after 9 a.m. Monday, Pam Harris learned that her 5-year battle against Governor Quinn and the Service Employees International Union had been successful.

"For me, all it really means is that I do not have to worry about my home becoming a union workplace. It means I don't have to worry about my home becoming a union workplace. It means I don't have to worry about union contacts and rules and regulations dictating and intruding on how we car for our son Josh," Harris told FOX 32's Larry Yellen.

Harris' son Josh is severely disabled. His mom is his paid caretaker. But when Governor Quinn decided such caretakers could be unionized like the other state workers, she objected.

The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, agreed, deciding that compelling such 'partial state employees to pay union fees violates their first amendment rights.

Technically, Harris didn't win - she had never joined the union, so the court said a decision would be premature. But thousands of other caretakers who do belong to the SEIU can no longer be compelled to pay union fees.

The SEIU says the vast majority of its members are supportive and will remain so.

"We are determined  to be as strong today as we were yesterday. And these workers are not going to back down. They are going to continue to lift their voices up," April Verrett with SEIU Healthcare Illinois said.

Governor Quinn called the decision disappointing, saying the workers 'deserve the right to collectively bargain for decent wages, benefits and proper working conditions."

Some labor experts believed this case could have dealt a devastating blow to public sector unions nationwide. But for now, the court's opinion appears to be limited to in-home personal assistants.

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