Monday, June 30, 2014

Supreme Court Finds Partial Public Employees Needn't Pay Fees to Unions

The Supreme Court has issued its opinion in the Harris v. Quinn case, finding that the partial public employees in question can't be required to pay agency fees to unions. The Court did not overturn decades-old precedent to eliminate agency fees for public employees in general.

The decision was of concern because of the potential risks of a broader negative ruling about paying agency fees to public employee unions.

This particular case was about in-home personal assistants who are paid by the state of Illinois to provide services to Medicaid recipients who would otherwise require institutional care. The employees are represented by SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana (SEIU–HII), which negotiates a state contract for these employees. The employees had been required to pay agency fees to SEIU–HII. Agency fees (sometimes called fair share fees) are meant to cover the cost of representing employees who are not union members, such as in contract negotiations and grievances.

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