News Release

Illinois Care Providers ask Supreme Court to Rule Unionization Scheme Unconstitutional

Home-based personal care providers can now be pushed into union ranks against their will

Washington, DC (November 29, 2011) – With the help of National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys, several Illinois personal care providers are asking the Supreme Court to invalidate a scheme enacted by Governor Pat Quinn and his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich, aimed at forcing them into union ranks.

Pam Harris and seven other Illinois care providers filed a petition for a writ of certiorari today, challenging the Governors’ forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the Constitution’s guarantees of free expression and association, effectively forcing providers to subsidize union officials’ lobbying efforts.

The petition stems from a class-action lawsuit filed by the providers after Quinn signed an executive order designating 4,500 individuals who offer in-home care to disabled persons as “public employees,” thus rendering them eligible for unwanted union organizing.

As a result of Quinn’s order, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union bosses have been competing to acquire monopoly bargaining control over this newly-created class of public employees.

Quinn’s executive order mirrored one issued by disgraced former Governor Rod Blagojevich, which designated over 20,000 personal care providers as state workers for the purpose of forcing them into union ranks. Quinn’s executive order expanded Blagojevich’s directive to cover an additional 4,500 providers who were not included in the original order.

In a 2010 mail-in vote, homecare providers emphatically rejected unionization by a two-to-one margin. But because of Quinn’s executive order, they’ll continue to face unionization drives until they capitulate. The personal care providers covered by Blagojevich’s executive order have already been forced to pay union fees to the SEIU.

“My primary concern is that someone else will be telling me how to best care for my son,” said Harris, who provides personal care for her adult son and is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. “Union dues would be a deduction from what we have available to provide for my son’s needs. And then I would be giving my money to a union to exercise their political muscle on issues I may vehemently disagree with.”

“This scheme is nothing more than pure political payback,” said Patrick Semmens, legal information director for the National Right to Work Foundation. “Governor Quinn’s campaign was enthusiastically supported by the SEIU, and now he’s returning the favor by helping force home-based care providers into union ranks. We hope the Supreme Court takes the case and eventually invalidates this blatant union power grab.”

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The Foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide.

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