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Monday, June 30, 2014

The Strange Bedfellows of Harris v. Quinn

A few more thoughts on Harris v. Quinn (in addition to these) based on the National Right-to-Work LDF press release.

First, this quote from the president of the National Right to Work Foundation is just incorrect:

"We applaud these homecare providers' effort to convince the Supreme Court to strike down this constitutionally-dubious scheme, thus freeing thousands of homecare providers from unwanted union control."

The home health care workers are still subject to the "control" of the agreement between the union and Illinois.  They just are exempted from the need to pay dues.

Second, I found this quote to raise some interesting issues:

"We celebrate knowing that Illinois moms linked arms and refused to be bullied," stated lead plaintiff Pam Harris. "Families in Illinois can relax knowing their homes are safe from being a union workplace and there will be no third party intruding into the care we provide our disabled sons and daughters."

Again, the homes will remain a "union workplace" -- she just won't be paying for it.  Perhaps more importantly, shouldn't there be a third party intruding into the care she's providing to make sure she's doing a good job?  The state is paying Harris to do the job of caring for her son -- it remains free to intrude as much as it likes.  If anything, the union "intruded" by being an advocate for the workers against the state.  The "union as intruder" meme is a very strange one in this context.

One last point: Harris is being paid by the federal Medicaid program to care for her disabled son.  Are some of the people cheering Harris's victory the same ones fighting tooth and nail against Medicaid expansion?

UPDATE: And one more point, from Paul Secunda: The three named plaintiffs who were in the bargaining unit were Theresa Riffey, Susan Watts, and Stephanie Yencer-Price.  (Slip Op. at 7) Watts, like Harris, cares for her own child.  Harris was a member of a different unit -- one that had not voted in favor of unionization.  The Court agreed with the Seventh Circuit that their claims were not ripe.  (Id. at 39 n.30)  So Harris never even felt the "union intrusion" in the first place.

Posted by Matt Bodie on June 30, 2014 at 04:36 PM | Permalink


" The "union as intruder" meme is a very strange one in this context."

I think the "union as intruder" theme comes from the fact that Medicaid is what it is, and the "union" is just taking a slice off the top. So the union is doing zero for the disabled person here, other than trying to keep his provider from being paid as much.

Posted by: WT | Jun 30, 2014 6:43:45 PM

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