Victory: Harris v. Quinn

Paul Kersey

Labor law expert, occasional smart-aleck, defender of the free society.

Paul Kersey
/ Labor
June 30, 2014

Victory: Harris v. Quinn

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a groundbreaking ruling today on the case of Harris v. Quinn. The court’s ruling states that state governments cannot force-unionize participants in state entitlement programs or force them to pay union dues as a condition of receiving help from the state. The court’s 5-4 decision was in favor of the plaintiff...

The U.S. Supreme Court has issued a groundbreaking ruling today on the case of Harris v. Quinn. The court’s ruling states that state governments cannot force-unionize participants in state entitlement programs or force them to pay union dues as a condition of receiving help from the state.

The court’s 5-4 decision was in favor of the plaintiff Pam Harris, a mother from suburban Chicago who takes care of her disabled son and participates in a state Medicaid program. The justices ruled that Medicaid beneficiaries and people participating in state entitlement programs are not state employees, and cannot be forced into a union or forced to pay union dues.

For more than a decade, government unions have been forcing people who are not state workers – moms and dads caring for children with developmental disabilities, home day-care providers for low-income children and others – to pay dues to a union as a condition of receiving help from their state governments. Both Gov. Pat Quinn and now-disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich issued executive orders allowing the unionization of people who were not state workers. This resulted in Illinois government unions making $20 million a year from these workers, many of whom never wanted to join or pay dues to a union in the first place.

Fortunately, today the U.S. Supreme Court has affirmed that plaintiff Pam Harris won’t have to jeopardize and limit her son’s care by being forced to join a union she does not want, agree with or support.

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