Circuit court hears health care workers in $32 million union fee case
Home health care workers in Illinois are arguing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in an effort to win back more than $32 million in union fees they were forced to pay to the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
Mark Mix, president of the National Right to Work Foundation, said this is one of many ongoing and upcoming cases that could open the floodgates to every government employee across America who wants to avoid paying union fees in order to get or keep a job.
Mix explained why the case is pivotal while talking with Shaun Thompson and Bruce Wolf, guest hosts of "Chicago’s Morning Answer" radio show.
Dan Proft, official host of the show, is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
The lawsuit, Riffey v. SEIU, followed the U.S. Supreme Court's 2014 Harris v Quinn 2014 decision in favor of the estimated 80,000 home health care workers who had been forced to pay the fees when then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed an executive order that classified health care workers as public employees if they cared for disabled people who received state subsidies, according to NRTW.
The court found the executive order to be unconstitutional because it violated the workers' First Amendment rights.
At the time, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito wrote that “no person in this country may be compelled to subsidize speech by a third party that he or she does not wish to support.”
The court did not take up restitution, and the matter was remanded to the district court to settle.
“Over the course of this process, the unions got pretty financially healthy,” Mix said “There’s a private organization that gets between taxpayers and elected officials and uses those elected officials to expand their power so they can collect more money to elect officials."
The district court refused to order SEIU to repay the money. The health care workers immediately appealed to the circuit court.
“The question remains what happened to all that money that was already in the pot that has already been forwarded to the SEIU and used for politics and other things,” Mix said.
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