‘Nothing in this rule stops union officials from collecting voluntary dues … it just says that taxpayers and government shouldn’t act as the bagman…’
(Lionel Parrott, Liberty Headlines) Home-care workers are intervening in a federal lawsuit that challenges a rule change implemented by the Trump administration.
They’re supporting the administration’s change, saying it helps ensure that they won’t have to fund unions in violation of their First Amendment rights.
The rule is being challenged by union officials and pro-union attorneys general in the states of California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.
The fight stems from a move by the Obama administration in 2014 that gave unions a special exemption when it came to Medicaid regulations.
It allowed union officials to siphon more than $100 million every year in Medicaid funds, which instead went into the unions’ political-organizing and lobbying efforts.
All in all, these officials were able to skim more than $1 billion in Medicaid payments over the past 15 years.
Then, the Supreme Court stepped in.
In 2014, the high court ruled that it is unconstitutional to force union dues on home-care providers who receive Medicaid funds. But many union officials did not stop collecting the payments, taking advantage of thousands of providers who lacked knowledge of their legal rights.
And for many of those who did have such knowledge, it wasn’t enough—they found that after attempting to stop the payments, union agents had forged their signatures on authorization forms, allowing the illegal skimming to continue despite the Supreme Court ruling.
Thus, when the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services adopted the new rule barring providers from paying union dues against their will, it was merely in alignment with the court’s decision.
The rule was set to go into effect July 5, but unions and their allies are challenging it anyway.
Medicaid providers aren’t backing down. They say that in the Medicaid statute, there’s a blanket prohibition against assigning payments to third parties—and that includes unions and union-related political action committees.
“Providers are right to oppose this lawsuit’s blatant attempt to enable union bosses to skim union dues in violation of federal law,” said Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation. “Contrary to the wishes of union bosses and their political allies, union officials are not entitled to a special exemption from federal law.”
Mix suggested that the lawsuit is based in fear—namely, fear on the part of union officials that increased knowledge of the law will deny them a key source of revenue.
“Nothing in this rule stops union officials from collecting voluntary dues from voluntary union members, it just says that taxpayers and government shouldn’t act as the bagman for such dues payments,” he continued.
“The hysterical response by Big Labor and its political allies to this simple clarification of what is longstanding federal law suggests they are worried that many members union officials claim to represent won’t pay dues once they realize they have a choice.”
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit that provides free legal aid to those whose rights have been violated by “compulsory unionism abuses.”