U.S. Supreme Court to issue ruling in landmark union case involving suburban Chicago mom in next week

June 25, 2014
Illinois Policy Institute issued amicus brief in case, Harris v. Quinn; labor experts available to comment on case

WHAT: The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this month in the case of Harris v. Quinn.

In this case, suburban Chicago mom Pam Harris takes on the unions and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn for signing an Executive Order that allowed for her and other families who participate in a state Medicaid program for the developmentally disabled to be force-unionized. Quinn’s executive order meant that families participating in this program would be forced to pay union dues and belong to a union as a condition of receiving the Medicaid support for their loved ones. The Illinois Policy Institute has worked closely with Pam Harris, the plaintiff, for several years and is able to speak on her behalf regarding her personal story and the court case. See her story here: http://www.illinoispolicy.org/videos/a-heroic-mom-from-illinois/

WHEN: The U.S. Supreme Court could release a decision in this case Wednesday, June 25; Thursday, June 26; or Monday, June 30. The Illinois Policy Institute will notify the media as soon as a decision is handed down.

WHO: Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, is available to comment on the case and impending decision. Paul Kersey is a national legal and labor policy expert who has researched this case and issue extensively, and authored an amicus brief in this case.

Diana Rickert, spokesperson and managing director for labor policy at the Illinois Policy Institute, is available by phone and in-person to comment on the case. Diana also has written about this issue for the Chicago Tribune.


*The plaintiff, Pam Harris, is a suburban Chicago mom who had the courage to take on the unions and Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.

*The ruling in this case could have a ripple effect nationwide on labor unions and union power.

*The Harris family participates in a state Medicaid program so that they can care for their adult son Josh, who is developmentally disabled, at home instead of placing him in a state institution. The family receives about $25,000 per year to help cover the cost of Josh’s care.

*In 2009, Gov. Quinn issued an executive order to unionize the people in this state Medicaid program, which would have forced the Harris family and other families caring for loved ones to be forced to pay dues to a union out of their Medicaid benefit.

*By issuing this executive order, Quinn attempted to force people like Pam, who are taking care of disabled family members, into a union as a condition of receiving help from the state; this is wrong and would be like forcing someone who is on food stamps or unemployment to be in a union just because he or she participates in a state program.

*The Illinois Policy Institute submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in this case arguing that forcing people in this Medicaid program to support a union is a violation of their First Amendment rights.


TAGS: Chicago, Harris v Quinn, Pam Harris, Pat Quinn