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BY: Bill McMorris
Caregivers who surrendered portions of Medicaid payments in an unconstitutional forced dues scheme are attempting to recover their lost wages.
Group - Caregivers - Supreme - Court - Court
A group of caregivers petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn lower court decisions that blocked a class action lawsuit aimed at taking back $32 million from SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas (SEIU). The home health aides, many of them caring for sick relatives full-time, were forced to pay the union fees, despite the fact that Medicaid, rather than SEIU bargaining, established their reimbursement rates.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Harris v. Quinn that the scheme was unconstitutional and that the home health aides could not be considered public employees. The plaintiffs argue the court should fully mend the injury caused by the forced dues system by allowing them to recover the back pay. If successful, the suit would establish that fee or dues payments must be made on a voluntary basis, rather than an opt-out system in which the burden of withdrawing support falls on individual workers.
Fee - Seizure - First - Amendment - Injury
"The unauthorized fee seizure itself would inflict a First Amendment injury. So called ‘opt-out' requirements would be unconstitutional, as only an ‘opt-in' requirement—i.e., that the individual consent to the deduction of union fees—would not inflict a First Amendment injury," the petition says.
SEIU did not respond to request for comment.
Dues - Scheme - Place - Gov - Rod
The dues deduction scheme was first put into place by imprisoned former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and continued by his successor Democrat Pat Quinn. Several other states had similar systems in place and ended those programs following the Supreme Court ruling. While the case allowed the health aides to discontinue payments to the unions, there has been no system-wide reimbursement on past payments. In 2016, an Obama appointed federal judge in Illinois blocked a class action suit, ruling that plaintiffs needed to...
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