Jul 01 2014
The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 yesterday to limit how unions collect fees from partial public employees. The case in question was around a number of home healthcare workers who are partially paid by Medicaid. Some of the workers in question were mothers who took care of their own disabled children and were paid in part by Medicaid. But they didn’t want to join the union representing home healthcare workers or pay the union fees.
The Supreme Court ruling will impact workers across the country and could affect organizing efforts among all Public Sector unions. Worker-friendly sounding organizations like the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation which is actually funded in part by the billionaire Koch brothers, backed the eight plaintiffs in the case Harris v. Quinn. The court moved against decades of precedent that gave Unions the ability to collect fees from workers in order for them to negotiate for collective bargaining, settle grievances and lobby for better benefits.
The ruling gives legal clout to so-called “right to work” states and will dampen Public Sector Unions’ ability to fight for workers’ rights. Union advocates say the ruling excludes the fastest growing and most exploited pool of workers from labor protections.
GUEST: David Bacon, Award-winning photojournalist, author, labor journalist and former labor organizer. He has written many books including The Right to Stay Home: How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration