Statement on Harris vs Quinn: 'Interests of the Minority'

Posted by: Gordon on 6/30/2014
The Supreme Court's decision today in Harris v. Quinn marks one tiny victory for one mom and one big setback for anyone who believes workers need to speak with one voice to win better wages and working conditions. (Read the Guardian, Forbes, or Washington Post).

In a Huffington Post column a month back when the decision was first expected, Ana Garcia-Ashley wrote that in the case -- about home healthcare workers and ensuring that everyone who benefits from the union, pays something into it--  we should applaud, not derail union efforts to lift wages and benefits for workers.

Gamaliel echoes today the statement of the National Economic Law Project, which noted Harris v Quinn (decided on a 5-4 conservative vs. liberal vote), "... does not reflect an even balancing of the scales of justice.

We agree with NELP executive director Christine Owens: Instead, on every question, the court elevated the interests of the minority objecting to paying their fair share over those of the majority who had democratically elected a union and the State that had concluded this form of representation was in the best interest of all parties.

We support our colleagues at Service Employees International Union and AFSCME and we know that SEIU's home care workers will continue to come together to have a strong voice for good jobs and quality home care.

Politics aside, the fact is unions that speak out on wage and other issues are the most effective tool to build a stable, qualified home-care workforce. States will need to find a new way to work with SEIU to make sure older Americans and people with disabilities receive decent care by a well-treated workforce. And as Owens and NELP point out, the Obama administration can help by implementing federal companionship worker regulations that extend basic federal minimum wage and overtime protections to the millions of workers who care for seniors and people with disabilities living independently in their homes.
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