News Release

Supreme Court to Review Illinois Homecare Provider Unionization Scheme

National Right to Work Foundation attorneys return to High Court to defend home-based personal care providers forced into union ranks

Washington, DC (October 1, 2013) – The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it is granting a writ of certiorari in a case that will decide whether Illinois homecare providers can be forced into union ranks against their will.

With the help of National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation staff attorneys, Pam Harris and seven other Illinois care providers are challenging a forced-unionism scheme enacted by Illinois Governors Rod Blagojevich and Pat Quinn on the grounds that it violates their rights to free expression and association by forcing them to subsidize union lobbying.

The case is 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 vulnerable to unwanted union organizing. However, the scheme only designates providers as public employees for the purposes of unionization, leaving the homecare recipients as the employers for all other aspects of the providers' work.

As a result of Quinn's order, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) 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 Blagojevich, which designated over 20,000 personal care providers as state workers solely for the purpose of forcing them into union ranks. Quinn then 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, those 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.

"Forcing homecare providers into union ranks is just plain wrong," said Mark Mix, President of the National Right to Work Foundation. "We hope the High Court will protect the rights of Pam Harris and thousands of other care providers by striking down this constitutionally-dubious scheme."

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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