February 12, 2014
By Stephanie West
Washington, DC – The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the National Right to Work Committee’s Harris v. Quinn case on Jan. 21. The case, filed against the state of Illinois, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, SEIU Local 73 and AFSCME District 31, threatens the right of home care workers and municipal employees to collectively bargain with states and cities to improve working conditions.
If the Supreme Court rules against the workers, it would be a major blow to national efforts to unionize home health care workers, the vast majority of whom are low-paid women of color. It would also be a huge attack on the ability of seniors and people with disabilities to get the reliable care they need to remain in their homes.
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees International President Lee Saunders noted that by bringing the case “the NRTW seeks to end collective bargaining for home health care and other independent providers. It would also do away with exclusive representation; severely limit the topics for collective bargaining; and eliminate fair share in the public sector.”
The court’s decision is expected in June.