July 2, 2014 Print

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 vote in favor of worker-freedom on June 30 in the case of Harris v. Quinn. Because of this, thousands of home healthcare workers in Illinois cannot be forced to pay union fees. Pam Harris, plaintiff in this case, stood up to big-government-labor. Her son was born with a rare genetic disorder, and rather than put him into a facility for care, she took care of him full-time at home; she was paid a Medicaid benefit of approximately $25,000 a year. Because of this, union members came knocking on her door and tried to force her home to be a union workplace. She didn’t want this, so she joined with other parents and caregivers who already paid forced dues to file a lawsuit. The class-action lawsuit was argued by National Right to Work Foundation. In the majority Opinion of the Court, Justice Samuel Alito wrote, “No person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support.” Several Atlas Network partners have been following and supporting this case. Shortly after the ruling, Paul Kersey, director of labor policy at Illinois Policy Institute, wrote an opinion piece in USA TODAY. Kersey said, “it wasn't just a victory for the Illinois mom who had the courage to stand up to the state's public employee unions. The decision also bolsters hopes that all government employees will one day be free from paying forced union dues as a condition of employment.” Also, Patrick J. Wright, vice president for legal affairs at Mackinac Center for Public Policy commented for The Detroit News, “As we’ve contended all along, you can’t force a person into a public-sector union simply because a portion of their income is derived from public dollars.” To learn more about the Atlas Network partners featured here, follow these links: www.illinoispolicy.org and www.mackinac.org