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Court: Public union can't make nonmembers pay fees

By The Associated Press

This article was published June 30, 2014 at 9:38 a.m.

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court dealt a blow to public sector unions Monday, ruling that thousands of home health care workers in Illinois cannot be required to pay fees that help cover the union's costs of collective bargaining.

In a 5-4 split along ideological lines, the justices said the practice violates the First Amendment rights of nonmembers who disagree with the positions that unions take.

The ruling is a setback for labor unions that have bolstered their ranks — and bank accounts — in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of in-home care workers. It could lead to an exodus of members who will have little incentive to pay dues if nonmembers don't have to share the burden of union costs.

But the ruling was limited to this particular segment of workers, not private sector unions, and it stopped short of overturning decades of practice that has generally allowed public sector unions to pass through their representation costs to nonmembers.

Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito said home care workers are different from other types of government employees because they work primarily for their disabled or elderly customers and do not have most of the rights and benefits of state employees.

The case involves about 26,000 Illinois workers who provide home care for disabled people and are paid with Medicaid funds administered by the state. In 2003, the state passed a measure deeming the workers state employees eligible for collective bargaining.

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RoyDaMercer says... June 30, 2014 at 9:47 a.m.

Awesome! Man, this is one great Monday so far

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FreeSpiritMan says... June 30, 2014 at 9:56 a.m.

And the GOP rants about people wanting something for nothing.
A home health worker that does not want to pay union dues, but wants the salary increase and benefits of those members that do pay dues is a leach.

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FreeSpiritMan says... June 30, 2014 at 9:59 a.m.

But, this leaching is OK with the likes of JessePinkman, but he is against food stamps.

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RoyDaMercer says... June 30, 2014 at 10:07 a.m.

Nope, you must have me mistaken with someone else who is against food stamps. I am against people who cannot spell

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FreeSpiritMan says... June 30, 2014 at 10:14 a.m.

We have another spell checker besides dddka.

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lazybar says... June 30, 2014 at 12:07 p.m.

bsboy unions = overpaid for less work. if unions were disolved then businesses could afford to pay the ones who actually work better wages and fire those that don`t. usps is a great example of what happens when unions run businesses

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Reason says... June 30, 2014 at 1:26 p.m.

Republican free loaders!

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FreeSpiritMan says... June 30, 2014 at 1:59 p.m.

lazybar .... ignorance is no excuse for your incorrect statement about the USPS.
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Postal unions, the USPS board of governors, and at least one Democratic lawmaker said the overall loss was due to congressional mandates, particularly a requirement that the agency pre-fund retiree benefits to the tune of about $5.6 billion per year.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has proposed legislation to end the pre-funding obligation, said the Postal Service would have recorded a net profit of $600 million without the annual payment, which the agency has defaulted on for the past several years.

“In terms of their business operations, they brought in more than they spent, but they have this burden,” Sanders said in an interview on Friday. “No other business or government agency is burdened with this mandate.”
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Operationally speaking, the USPS nets profits every year. The financial problem it faces now comes from a 2006 Congressional mandate that requires the agency to “pre-pay” into a fund that covers health care costs for future retired employees. Under the mandate, the USPS is required to make an annual $5.5 billion payment over ten years, through 2016. These “prepayments” are largely responsible for the USPS’s financial losses over the past four years and the threat of shutdown that looms ahead – take the retirement fund out of the equation, and the postal service would have actually netted $1 billion in profits over this period.
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lazybar...... ignorance or spin, which is it? I'll bet we do not get a one word answer either ignorance or spin. Probably no answer.

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PatWaverly says... June 30, 2014 at 2:12 p.m.

If you don't prepay the pension at USPS then what are you suggesting? Pretend like everything is ok then kick the can down the road and let someone else worry about another unfunded pension plan? Where have we heard this before?

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FreeSpiritMan says... June 30, 2014 at 2:19 p.m.

Pat ....... Did you not read this?
“No other business or government agency is burdened with this mandate.”

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