‘These providers will be one step closer to relief in their fight to provide homecare … without being forced to satiate union bosses’ greed…’
(Michael Barnes, Liberty Headlines) A group of Illinois homecare workers is taking on the Service Employees International Union in an effort to recoup more than $32 million in seized union fees—and the workers weren’t even union members.
The group is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to step in on behalf of 80,000 workers who were allegedly ripped-off by the powerful labor union.
However, the National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW), a charitable organization providing free legal aid to workers enduring union abuses, said the high court had already found the scheme to be unconstitutional.
“The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that SEIU had illegally confiscated union dues from thousands of Illinois homecare providers, but those individuals are forced to jump through legal hoops for years to reclaim their money that should never have been taken from them in the first place,” said NRTW President Mark Mix.
The case, known as Riffey v. Pritzker, is a continuation of a prior case, where in 2014 the Supreme Court ruled that the state of Illinois had violated the home-healthcare workers’ rights when it required them to pay union fees from funding they received under state government healthcare programs.
Illinois is a bastion of public-sector labor-union activity and abuse. Not only are many state and local elected officials backed by them, but those politicians are often expected to deliver on union interests.
It didn’t matter that the affected home-healthcare workers didn’t join the SEIU—much less consent to their compensation being taken from them—the state still diverted fees to the powerful SEIU.
Two lower-court challenges allowed the SEIU to keep the non-member fees, but the NRTW successfully petitioned the Supreme Court the day after the landmark labor ruling known as the Janus decision.
In 2018, the Supreme Court struck down forced unionization and forced union fees for all government workers as a condition of employment.
The decision was named after an Illinois government employee named Janus who refused to pay so-called “agency” fees to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees union, or AFSCME, because he strongly disagreed with the political activities AFSCME was funding through its members’ mandated contributions.
Almost all union political advocacy benefits Democratic candidates and causes.
After Janus, the Supreme Court referred the Riffey homecare workers case back to an appeals court for rehearing. But on Dec. 6, the appeals court affirmed its prior decision, 2-1, to deny a return of the $32 million.
The appeals court said that each individual homecare provider would have to prove that he or she objected to the taking of the fees when the seizures occurred, which is impractical even if true.
But the NRTW isn’t giving up. The group wants the Supreme Court to settle the case once and for all.
“If the Supreme Court agrees to hear Riffey, these providers will be one step closer to relief in their fight to provide homecare—many to their own children in their own homes—without being forced to satiate union bosses’ greed,” said Mix.
“Already the US Supreme Court has ruled for these providers twice in this case, now one more trip is necessary for the victims of this illegal union scheme to finally have their rights vindicated,” he added.