Check out this article from the January/February 2017 newsletter. To read the full newsletter and to sign up for your free copy, please click here.
Numerous Foundation cases seek to enforce and build on landmark Harris Supreme Court victory
Washington, DC – In 2014, Foundation staff attorneys argued the case Harris v. Quinn before the US Supreme Court, which chose to strike down the SEIU’s illegal forced dues scheme in Illinois. The opinion of the court stated that individuals who receive state subsidies based on their clientele cannot be forced to pay compulsory union fees.
While the Supreme Court’s decision was clear, unsurprisingly union officials have not willing complied with the precedent. This has impacted the rights of homecare and childcare providers in dozens of states. In order to force unions to comply with the law, a number of cases are being litigated by National Right to Work Foundation staff attorneys on behalf of providers across the nation, including in Oregon, Washington, New York and Illinois.
Pacific Northwest Providers Challenge Union Schemes
Coordinating with the Freedom Foundation, Foundation staff attorneys recently filed suit in the federal courts of Oregon and Washington for homecare providers who are being forced to pay dues to the SEIU in defiance of the Harris decision.
In these cases, the respective SEIU local officials have refused to honor resignations from the union and have continued illegally deducting full union dues and fees from nonmember workers. The workers have named the union officials as defendants, as well as the states of Oregon and Washington due to government’s seizure of money on the union’s behalf from homecare providers, many of whom are family members voluntarily taking care of sick or disabled relations.
Among other rights violations, union bosses have deliberately obfuscated the resignation process in an effort to coerce more dues money out of homecare workers. Workers seeking to leave the union are being told that they can only resign during an arbitrary two week period that union officials seek to keep from the workers as a means of trapping them into paying dues for another year.
In both cases, the providers and their Foundation staff attorneys seek to reaffirm that providers have the right to cut off dues payment to the union at any time.
New York Childcare Ask Supreme Court to Review ‘Forced Representation’
After the Harris ruling struck down the Illinois scheme, Foundation attorneys have been applying that precedent to many similar cases. One of these cases is working its way through the courts on the opposite side of the country in New York. In 2007, disgraced former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer signed an executive order that named the Civil Service Employees Association Union as the monopoly bargaining power for thousands of childcare providers outside New York City.
Mary Jarvis, a NY home-based childcare provider, with the assistance of Foundation attorneys is challenging this illegal scheme in NY courts. Jarvis and her fellow plaintiffs are currently seeking a writ of certiorari, petition filed in early December 2016, to bring Jarvis v. CSEA before the US Supreme Court, arguing that forced unionism violates their first amendment rights of association.
Also in December, Foundation attorneys argued a similar case (Hill v. SEIU) before the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Illinois. The lower court ruled that the state had the right to assign a monopoly bargaining representative to this class of worker, without any input or vote by these providers. Foundation staff attorneys argue that this arbitrary assignment of a “bargaining representative” to handle interactions between the government and the workers is unconstitutional. Under the First Amendment, citizens have the right to petition the government directly for the redress of grievances, and Foundation staff attorneys argue those protections are violated when the government imposes an unwanted representative to speak to the government on their behalf.
“Citizens have the power to select their political representation in government, not the other way around,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “These schemes, which forced home-based childcare providers, even grandmothers taking care of their grandchildren, into paying forced dues to union bosses are a slap in the face of the fundamental American principles we hold dear.”
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, assists thousands of employees in more than 250 cases nationwide per year.