Home-Care Providers Take State To Federal Court

National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Press Release:

News Release

Home-Care Providers Take Case Challenging State Unionization Scheme to Federal Appeals Court

Right to Work Foundation assists home-based personal care providers pushed into union ranks against their will

Chicago, IL (December 13, 2010) – A group of home-based personal care providers have filed a federal appeal against Governor Pat Quinn and union officials for their agreement to force Illinois’s home-based personal care providers under unwanted union boss control.

With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, the personal care providers filed their appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit after a district court judge ruled against them.

The appeal stems from a class-action lawsuit filed by the providers after Quinn signed an executive order designating 4,500 home-based personal care providers who care for individuals with disabilities as “public employees” and susceptible to unwanted union boss political “representation.”

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union bosses have been competing to force their monopoly control over the workers, even having out-of-state union organizers making “home visits” attempting to organize the providers through coercive “card check” unionization tactics. Not coincidentally, Quinn received the SEIU union bosses’ political endorsement and support during his closely-contested primary campaign earlier this year.

Quinn’s executive order mirrored one issued by disgraced former-Governor Rod Blagojevich, later codified, in which over 20,000 personal care providers were designated as state workers for the purpose of granting union bosses monopoly “representation” and forced dues privileges over them. Quinn’s executive order expanded Blagojevich’s to cover the additional 4,500 providers who were not included in the first executive order.

In a mail-in vote, the providers soundly rejected union membership by a two-to-one margin. However, per Quinn’s executive order, the home-care providers may again be subject to further forced unionization efforts.

Pam Harris and several other home-care providers filed the federal suit on behalf of all of Illinois’s providers, challenging the forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of free political expression and association.

“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 suit. “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 of the National Right to Work Foundation. “In effect Governor Quinn is picking the lobbyists of Illinois’s personal care providers, all in exchange for the union bosses’ support and political contributions.”

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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.