Some Home Care Workers May Avoid Bargaining Fees, Court Rules The Supreme Court ruled that in-home care workers, who are paid by the state, are not similar enough to government employees to have to pay fees that help cover the costs of collective bargaining.


Some Home Care Workers May Avoid Bargaining Fees, Court Rules

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And let's turn now to NPR's Cheryl Corley in Chicago. She's been listening to a reaction to the Supreme Court ruling that non-union home healthcare workers no longer have to pay union fees.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: In a large room at Access Living, a disability rights organization in Chicago, there was plenty of criticism about the ruling. Michael Grice lost his legs in a motorcycle accident more than 40 years ago. He says the union's efforts to increase wages for workers has meant more consistent care for him and a chance to move out of a nursing home.

MICHAEL GRICE: This program is all about people - not dollars, people.

CORLEY: Ashanda Harris (ph), a home health care worker who's cared for relatives with Alzheimer's and now for her ill mother, says the individuals who filed the lawsuit over paying so-called fair share fees for collective bargaining just don't get the big picture. Harris is an SEIU member and worries the ruling could cost the union members.

ASHANDA HARRIS: And when it's time to fight, numbers count. And you have to understand that when people are getting paid $1 an hour and $3 an hour, that was ludicrous.

CORLEY: By the end of the year, the workers are set to make $13 an hour. But Patrick Simmons with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, the group who backed the case, says the judges made the right decision.

PATRICK SIMMONS: No one's saying that the union can't bargain, that they can't represent people. But they need to do so with people who voluntarily support them, not people forced to do so.

CORLEY: SEIU Illinois Vice President April Verrett says no one's been forced to join the union. But she agrees the system used to help pay for bargaining and training for in-home healthcare workers will change.

APRIL VERRETT: What that looks like yet, we don't know.

CORLEY: Union leaders say what they do know is the decision has made them even more determined to stay united. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.


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