Illinois mom Pam Harris has taken her case against forced unionization in Illinois to the Supreme Court. She is the primary caregiver for her disabled son who receives Social Security and Medicaid benefits. Thanks to an executive order signed in 2009, the union now takes a share of his benefits after forcing Harris to join their ranks. She told Watchdog.org that she doesn’t want to be the “face of the fight against forced unionization,” but that’s where she finds herself.
With backing from SEIU and Illinois’ other massive public employee union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn OK’ed Executive Order 15.
The order classifies parents like Harris as “public employees,” but only for the sake of collective bargaining, and SEIU and AFSCME can try and organize them.
Paul Kersey, director of labor policy for the Illinois Policy Institute, said that order from the governor unleashed public employee unions on moms like Harris.
“These aren’t government employees. These are private citizens who take care of disabled family members. No matter how you might feel about unions, they went too far this time. Trying to unionize families was a gross overreach,” Kersey said.
Harris said she realized the unions had gone too far the moment SEIU first arrived at her door.
“I’m not going to be the face of a national anti-union movement. I’m just a mom trying to do what’s right for her son,” Harris said. (Read More)
Who can blame her for being hesitant about taking on the unions with the way they bully and harass anyone who goes up against them?
Unfortunately, this sort of forced unionization isn’t unique to the state of Illinois, as The Wall Street Journal noted in an op-ed this week.
Ten states have similar arrangements, which have proliferated as union membership has fallen to 6.6% of the private workforce. As fewer workers voluntarily join unions, the unions have relied ever more on state coercion. There were 1.9 million U.S. home-care workers in 2010, with that number expected to reach over three million by 2020. Some 475,000 are unionized.
The WSJ went on to outline the legal arguments for and against forced unionization.
The Illinois legal defense is that there is a state interest in unionization based on the “labor peace” doctrine that goes back to the earliest days of the union movement. There may have been such a government interest when, say, a railroad strike threatened nationwide commerce in the early 1900s. But the Cato Institute and National Federation of Independent Business argue persuasively in an amicus brief that the “labor peace” rationale does not trump First Amendment rights. And it hardly applies to home-care workers who operate independently or in small groups with no bearing on statewide commerce.
In Knox v. SEIU in 2012, the Justices ruled that forced unionization deserves a high level of First Amendment scrutiny. “Mandatory associations are permissible only when they serve a ‘compelling state interes[t] . . . that cannot be achieved through means significantly less restrictive of associational freedoms.’” (Read More)
This is what you get when you elect Democrats. They’re perfectly content to sell out constituents to keep those union campaign contributions rolling in.
Let’s hope the Court rules the right way.