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Supreme Court Decision Should Make Us Fight Harder

6/30/2014
In a decision released today, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that public sector home healthcare workers in Illinois who are not union members cannot be required to pay fair share fees for the services and benefits they receive from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The court upheld the right of public workers to organize and bargain collectively.
 
Today's Harris v. Quinn decision impacts only home healthcare workers in Illinois, who were determined to be “partial” public employees. Justices voted 5-4 and were split along party lines.
 
The SEIU reacted immediately to the decision:

“No court case is going to stand in the way of home care workers coming together to have a strong voice for good jobs and quality home care,” said SEIU President Mary Kay Henry. “At a time when wages remain stagnant and income inequality is out of control, joining together in a union is the only proven way home care workers have of improving their lives and the lives of the people they care for.”

The court’s ruling does not apply to full- or part-time adjunct faculty who work for public universities because they are full-fledged public employees. While these workers have been exploited in many other ways, this decision does not further erode any adjunct rights.
 

But make no mistake – this decision is more proof that wealthy, far-right interests like the Koch brothers, the Walton family, billionaire and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation are persisting in their well-funded attack on working families and our unions.

It won’t stop with this case, and so our unity is more important than ever.
 
The IFT and AFT stand in solidarity with SEIU.

“America's workers have gone through the crucible of tough times and adversity—that's why they formed America's labor movement. Workers did not start off with their rights being protected by government. We had to—and still must—organize ourselves, our families and others to secure good jobs, great public schools, prosperous communities and opportunity for all," said AFT President Randi Weingarten. "While disappointed in the court's decision, the American Federation of Teachers will do what we have always done: redouble our efforts to empower and engage our members around the issues they care about and the work they do, and to serve as a strong voice for our communities, our democracy and opportunity for all.”

We know that no court case will stop SEIU from doing what is right for their members and those they serve. Show your support, too, by sending SEIU members a message on Facebook or Twitter.

Union members understand that what harms one of us harms us all. It is more important than ever before that we organize in our workplaces to push back against these corporate attacks and fight for our ability to stand up for our schools and our communities. By strengthening our unions, we will ensure our voice is heard.

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