Unions dodge bullet at Supreme Court

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Home care workers in Illinois cannot be forced to pay union dues, the Supreme Court ruled Monday in a narrow decision that mostly preserves labor’s biggest stronghold in the United States.

In a 5-4 decision, the justices voided a requirement that personal medical assistants in Illinois contribute fees to a branch of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), even if they choose not to become members.

But in a victory for labor, the justices did not address the broader question of whether public sector employees can be forced to pay union dues, leaving in place state laws aimed at preventing “free riding” by non-members.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said the home-care workers in Illinois are “quite different from full­ fledged public employees” and are thus not subject to the rules set out in a case known as Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed.



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