NFIB/CT: SCOTUS Ruling on Unionization Scheme Threatens Connecticut Law

Date: June 30, 2014

Hartford (June 30, 2014) – The US Supreme Court today ruled that states cannot force home care providers to join labor unions in a decision that the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) called a major victory for small business in Connecticut.


“Governor Malloy signed a similar executive order and the Legislature subsequently codified it with a law that basically turned private sector employees into public sector union members.  So this ruling raises a big question about the constitutionality of Connecticut’s system,” said NFIB State Director Andrew Markowski.


The case, Harris v. Quinn, originated in Illinois and focused on whether states can force non-union home care workers to join labor unions if their clients receive public subsidies to purchase those services.  That’s the basis on which Illinois Governor Pat Quinn issued an executive order in 2003 designating home care workers as “public employees” even though they work for private sector businesses.  Connecticut and several other states now have similar mandates in place. 


“Forcing private sector employees to pay union dues is an extraordinary measure that strikes most people as highly unfair,” said Markowski.  “The court’s decision today certainly raises questions and may invalidate the Connecticut law.  I think the Governor’s statement today makes clear that the Legislature and possibly the courts will have to revisit the issue.”  


The state provides billions in subsidies to millions of residents under hundreds of different programs. They use it to purchase goods and services from private sector businesses of every variety and they’re all private transactions between private citizens and private sector businesses.  Workers in those businesses cannot be forced into unions because of where their customers get their money.


“Private sector labor unions have been shrinking as a percentage of the workforce and this was a way to artificially boost their numbers,” said Markowski.  “Based on the Supreme Court ruling I’m not sure the Connecticut scheme can withstand a challenge.  It should be repealed immediately.”


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