Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court harms, but doesn't kill, public employee unions

Posted By on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 at 9:14 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court finishes its term with two opinions, the most watched being the Hobby Lobby case on the ability of an employer to deny contraceptive coverage in group health plans. Scotusblog reports that Alito wrote both decisions, which is not a promising sign.

The first case is one closely watched by public employee unions, the last vestige of union strength in the country.

The Supreme Court ruled that a part-time home health worker in Illinois could not be required to pay union dues if not a member of the union. But, it apparently declined to overturn an earlier court precedent as an anti-union group it hoped. That opinion allowed unions to bargain collectively and collect dues from all it represented, including non-members. But that opinion still could be challenged, some commentators say.

Nonetheless, this decision crimps the ability to target a growing sector of publicly paid home health workers. 

The decision says that union bargaining fees cannot be imposed on employees that are not full-time public employees. Thus, said scotus blog, the power to collect fees is limited, but not prohibited.

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