In the wake of Monday’s ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court allowing home healthcare workers in Illinois to decline union participation, the Freedom Foundation sent a letter today to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee calling on him to recognize the ruling also applies to employees in this state.
“While the Court’s decision (in Harris v. Quinn) dealt with Service Employees International Union (SEIU)-represented individual home healthcare providers in Illinois, the broad implications of the case are crystal clear,” wrote Tom McCabe, Freedom Foundation CEO. “In its decision … the Court reaffirmed its position that such union security requirements constitute a ‘significant impingement on First Amendment rights’ and refused to uphold Illinois’ ‘scheme’ under which the state automatically deducted mandatory union fees from the Medicaid reimbursement checks of private citizens taking care of disabled families in the privacy of their homes.”
In the Harris ruling, the court classified the affected workers as “partial public employees” and declared they should not be treated as full-fledged state employees for representation purposes.
In Washington, home healthcare workers were similarly unionized following passage of Initiative 775 in 2001. Statewide, around 40,000 private individuals receiving state subsidies are compelled to either become regular dues-paying union members or pay an agency representation fee.
- individual home healthcare workers represented by SEIU 775;
- family childcare workers represented by SEIU 925;
- language-access providers represented by the Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE); and,
- adult family home providers represented by the Washington Residential Care Council.
Inslee, currently involved in behind-closed-doors negotiations with state unions over new collective bargaining agreements, is reportedly working with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office – and SEIU 775 – to evaluate the implications of the ruling in Washington.
“We trust the goal of this coordination is to honor the principles of the Constitution as applied in the Harris ruling,” McCabe wrote.
In order to prevent the state from incurring legal liability, he then asked Inslee to “direct the appropriate state agencies to immediately cease the deduction of union fees from non-member ‘partial public employees.’”
Lastly, McCabe noted that, according to state Public Disclosure Commission records, Inslee has personally benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign spending since 2012 from SEIU 775 alone.
“As the elected leader of our great state,” McCabe concluded, “we trust you will do the right thing.”