Supreme Court Allows Some Workers to Decide on Union Dues
(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday the United States Supreme Court ruled, in Harris v. Quinn, that home health workers in Illinois are not government employees, and so cannot be forced to pay dues to a union they do not wish to join. The Court did not however, reverse a 1977 decision that state governments may enact laws requiring union membership for some public workers. This decision preserves the right of these home health workers to decide for themselves whether to become members of a union, but does not affect the requirement for other government workers to pay these dues.
Jorge Lima, Policy Director of The LIBRE Initiative, released the following statement:
"It shouldn't be controversial to allow employees to decide whether or not to join a union and pay union dues. Some people agree with and value the services that unions provide – but not all. And those individuals should not be forced to subsidize union activity. The decision protects the right of these home health care workers to make the decision for themselves – but does not address laws already in place that require workers to pay union dues if they work for the government.
Latinos in America fall disproportionately into low-income categories. For them, a decision about joining a union and paying dues is particularly important. It affects family budgets and savings, and can help determine how quickly a worker acquires valuable new skills and advances. It's fortunate that this Supreme Court decision preserves the right to make this decision – at least for some employees."