In a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Alito, the US Supreme Court struck down a portion of an Illinois law extending collective bargaining rights to state-paid homecare workers. Specifically, the Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that it violates the First Amendment to require all homecare workers to pay their fair share of the cost of that representation (by SEIU) because it infringes on their right NOT to associate.
This ruling will not have a direct impact on PEF and its members, but we are sympathetic to our Illinois brothers and sisters and are deeply concerned for those served by homecare workers. This decision undermines the gains made by SEIU such as increasing the wages of the workers and increasing training, which helped stabilize the workforce and improve the quality services provided.
In addition, though this week’s ruling was extremely narrow based on specific circumstances in Illinois, we are concerned about and watching a half dozen pending court cases that could have an impact on unions in New York State and will continue to speak out at every opportunity about the value and quality of the public services PEF members provide to our communities.