CHICAGO (July 31, 2014) – Approximately 50,000 Illinois day care providers for children from low-income families will no longer be forced to pay union fees or dues, according to a letter from the Quinn administration. The decision is the result of work by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute and Liberty Justice Center, and will save these small...
CHICAGO (July 31, 2014) – Approximately 50,000 Illinois day care providers for children from low-income families will no longer be forced to pay union fees or dues, according to a letter from the Quinn administration. The decision is the result of work by the nonpartisan Illinois Policy Institute and Liberty Justice Center, and will save these small businesses as much as $10 million annually.
Media: Issue background, comments from Liberty Justice Center attorney and day-care provider who helped secure this decision are below.
Background: In 2005, former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued an executive order allowing the unionization of day care providers for low-income children who receive child-care subsidies from the state. More than 50,000 day care providers were unionized and forced to pay union dues or fees to the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) to keep their jobs, despite the fact that only 27.6 percent of them voted to be part of the SEIU. The SEIU collected approximately $10 million annually from union dues and fees.
But in June 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a groundbreaking ruling in the case Harris v. Quinn, stating that state governments cannot force-unionize participants in state entitlement programs, or force them to pay union dues or fees as a condition of receiving help from the state. The plaintiffs in the Harris v. Quinn case were participants in a state Medicaid program for people with disabilities.
Following the ruling, the Illinois Policy Institute and its litigation arm, the Liberty Justice Center, sought to have the ruling in Harris v. Quinn applied to the home day care providers, since they also were unionized by executive order. The Institute and Liberty Justice Center worked with Laura Baston, a day care provider from downstate Casey, Illinois, to petition the Quinn administration to apply the ruling in Harris v. Quinn to day care providers and stop withdrawing union fees from her benefit checks.
Today the Quinn administration notified Baston that state government would honor her request, and stop withdrawing union dues from the benefit checks for day care providers effective July 1, 2014. Going forward, no day care providers will be forced to pay union fees or dues unless they have signed a union membership card requesting to pay dues to the union.
This decision will save the approximately 50,000 unionized day care providers as much as $10 million that previously was going to the SEIU.
Comments from Liberty Justice Center attorney Jacob Huebert: “We’re pleased with this decision by the Quinn administration, because it means tens of thousands of day care providers will no longer be forced to support a union against their will,” said Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center. “This means more money in the pockets of day care providers instead of the SEIU, which now stands to lose as much as $10 million each year.”
Comments from Casey, Illinois, day care provider Laura Baston, who worked with Illinois Policy Institute and Liberty Justice Center to secure this decision: “It’s important to me that we have choices in how we run our business and how we care for the kids we serve, but we were never given a choice in this matter,” Baston said. “I’m grateful to the Illinois Policy Institute and the Liberty Justice Center because I will no longer be forced to pay money to the SEIU so that I can care for these kids. The money I will save is money we can begin using for our families, and it’s also money that won’t be going to causes I don’t agree with.”