Home Caregivers, Day Care Providers Sue to End Forced Unionization

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Six Illinois child care providers and home caregivers represented by attorneys from the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation have filed a federal lawsuit seeking to remove the SEIU as their union representative. Illinois law forces thousands of child care providers and home-based caregivers to be represented by the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, as a condition of providing care to people who receive subsidies from the government. Even though these caregivers no longer are forced to pay money to the SEIU, thanks to the 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. Quinn, they still are forced to be represented by the union even if they do not want the union to speak for them. The lawsuit filed in the federal district court in Chicago seeks to end this practice. The plaintiffs are seeking to strike down the state law that deems the SEIU their “exclusive representative.”

“The government has no right to appoint an ‘exclusive representative’ to speak on citizens’ behalf just because they benefit from a government program,” said Jacob Huebert, senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center, a public-interest law firm, who is co-counsel in the lawsuit. “Under the First Amendment, individuals get to decide for themselves what they will say to the government and who will speak on their behalf. This lawsuit asks the federal courts to strike down this unconstitutional scheme.” Victory in the case would build upon the Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Quinn, in which the Court ruled that forcing home-based caregivers who are not government employees to pay union fees violated their First Amendment rights. “Home-based caregivers should not be forced to associate with a union they have no interest in joining or supporting,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “We hope this case will build on the Supreme Court’s landmark, Foundation-won Harris decision to protect caregivers’ freedom of association and put a stop to union bosses’ forced home care unionization schemes.”

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