Illinois child care providers sue SEIU for millions in wrongfully withheld union fees

Jacob Huebert

Senior Attorney at Liberty Justice Center, author of Libertarianism Today.

Jacob Huebert
/ Labor
September 28, 2015

Illinois child care providers sue SEIU for millions in wrongfully withheld union fees

Illinois child care providers are suing to recoup the dues they were forced to pay to the Service Employees International Union.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn in 2014 forced Illinois to stop requiring the payment of union fees from unwilling home care providers and day care operators. The court ruled that the First Amendment prohibits Illinois and other state governments from compelling people like home care and day care providers – who accept state subsidies but are not government employees – to pay money to a union as a condition of receiving state funds.

Since then, revenue has plummeted for the union those providers were forced to support – the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU. Before the decision, SEIU skimmed about $808,000 a month from the checks of day care providers alone; since the Harris decision, it has only been able to take about $343,000 per month from the minority of providers who have not opted out of paying union fees.

And the Harris decision might land another financial blow on SEIU: A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of nonunion day care providers seeks to make SEIU repay the tens of millions of dollars it wrongfully took from those workers since the state force-unionized them in 2005.

The lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit are Laura Baston and Sandy Winner, who operate small businesses that provide day care services to low-income children. Watch them tell their stories in this video:

Resources are available for home care and day care providers who want information about opting out of union membership. Child care providers can find help at Care for Illinois. Personal care providers can visit Leave the SEIU for information.

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