Lansing (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 and a validation of the Michigan Legislature’s decision to reverse a similar scheme.
“If the state can force home health care workers to join unions or pay union dues simply because their clients received public subsidies, then it could eventually try to coerce other types of businesses under the same pretense,” said NFIB State Director Charlie Owens. “Former Governor Granholm concocted a similar scheme in Michigan forcing home care providers into the Service Employee International Union and allowing the union to skim more than $35 million dollars of taxpayer money intended for patients and their families.”
The U.S. Supreme Court 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. Several other states now have similar laws in place but Michigan isn’t one of them.
“Forcing workers to join unions is fundamentally unfair under any circumstances,” said Owens. “But it is absolutely chilling that government can reclassify private sector workers as government workers simply because public money is indirectly involved.”
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.
“Only a fraction of the private sector workforce in Michigan is unionized because workers don’t want to join,” said Owens. “These laws are a sneaky way for labor unions, through their political allies, to force workers to become union members who would not join voluntarily. The Supreme Court ruled correctly in declaring these scams unconstitutional.”
To learn more about NFIB please visit www.nfib.com.