Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court: Partial Public Employees Can't Be Required To Contribute To Unions

Huffinton Post
June 30th, 2014

   WASHINGTON -- In a setback for organized labor that could have been much worse, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday that certain government-funded employees cannot be required to pay fees to the public sector unions that represent them, a decision that could hurt some unions financially.
The 5-4 ruling in Harris v. Quinn, written by Justice Samuel Alito for the majority, was not the worst-case scenario that unions had feared. But it does deliver a blow to major unions that have organized Medicaid-funded home care workers and other workers who aren't "full-fledged public employees" in the majority's eyes.
   Such workers, the court ruled, cannot be compelled to pay "agency fees." Because unions have to represent all the employees in a particular bargaining unit, they commonly seek requirements in their contracts that all workers, whether union members or not, pay agency fees to help cover the administrative costs of bargaining. This avoids what unions commonly refer to as "freeloading" by non-union employees.

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