People of Northwest Public Radio
Public Sector Workers
Mon June 30, 2014
Oregon Unions Looking Closely At Home Care Workers Ruling
Oregon's unions are taking a close look today at the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on public sector workers.
In the Harris v. Quinn case, the court ruled that eight home health workers from Illinois could not be forced to pay dues to a union they didn't wish to join.
Illinois and Oregon are two of 26 states that require public sector workers to pay dues to unions that negotiate their contracts and represent them in grievances.
However, Elana Guiney of the Oregon AFL-CIO says Illinois' laws are different from Oregon's.
"Until legal scholars really drill into this case and probably until other cases like this are brought, we won't know if Harris v. Quinn has a far reaching effect or if it really is just about this particular set of workers in Illinois," said Guiney.
The court all but invited further challenges, calling previous rulings on this issue "questionable."
The court found that the Illinois health care workers were not “full-fledged public employees” because although the state paid them via Medicaid, private patients did the hiring and firing.
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