St. Paul (June 30, 2014) – The US Supreme Court today ruled that states cannot force home care providers to pay labor union dues to unions which they don’t belong in a decision that the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) called a major victory for small business in Minnesota.
“If the state can force private 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 Mike Hickey. “This has major implications for the law in Minnesota, which is modeled after the Illinois law that was struck down today.”
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 individual patients in private homes. Minnesota has a similar law although it has not been fully implemented yet and no union election has been held yet.
“State government is way out of line in this situation by reclassifying private sector workers as government workers simply because public money is involved in the care of the patient,” said Hickey.
The state provides millions of dollars in the form of assistance to many Minnesotans under many different programs. They use some of it to purchase goods and services from private sector businesses of every variety and they’re all private transactions between private citizens and private businesses. Workers in those businesses cannot be forced into unions because of where their customers get their money.
“Only a small fraction of the private sector workforce in Minnesota is unionized because workers don’t want to join,” said Hickey. “These laws are part of a scheme to artificially boost union membership and if the law were implemented in Minnesota it would be harmful to independent care providers by driving up their costs and forcing them to pay dues that are used in part for political activities that they might not support.”
To learn more about NFIB please visit www.nfib.com.