Supreme Court Issues Narrow Ruling on Personal Assistants

June 30, 2014 (San Diego) The United States Supreme Court issued a narrow ruling on Harris v Quinn. In the ruling the Supreme Court Conservative Justices sided with Home Health Workers who did not want to pay Union Dues. With the ruling the Court pointed to their distaste for State Laws requiring the payment of Union dues for State Employees. It is much narrower ruling than organized labor feared. It is still damaging enough.

From the Syllabus, issued with the decision, we read that:

PAs (Public Assistants) are much different from public employees. Unlike full- fledged public employees, PAs are almost entirely answerable to the customers and not to the State, do not enjoy most of the rights and benefits that inure to state employees, and are not indemnified by the State for claims against them arising from actions taken during the course of their employment. Even the scope of collective bargaining on their behalf is sharply limited. Pp. 20–25.

This narrow ruling limits the ability of Unions to organize workers if they are not full time employees of the State. These are not state Employees, therefore, they cannot be forced to pay Union Dues, The Majority was written by Justice Alito which said the Abood v Detroit helped to set the standard of free riders versus union members back in 1877 and it has been entrenched in Labor law.

Justice Kagan is worried that this precedent is under attack. She writes in her dissent:

The majority declines the petitioners’ request to overturn precedent—and rightly so: This Court does not have anything close to the special justification necessary to overturn Abood. Still, the majority cannot restrain itself from providing a critique of that decision, suggesting that it might have resolved the case differently in the first instance.

Labor organizers see this as an effort to weaken Unions and in the end destroy them. According to Politico Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights. sees this as a good decision, as he leads a class action suit for California teachers, against the California Teachers Association. Therefore, this is not over, as more challenges to Unions and organized labor maker their way though the courts.

 



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