In its Monday ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 that home healthcare workers in Illinois could not be forced to join a public union and pay dues if they don’t wish to join. What should be celebrated by any reasonable person as a victory for human rights and freedom has been framed by the White House as a War on the Elderly.
In an official statement released after the decision came down, a bitterly disappointed White House warns:
The collective bargaining model in Illinois resulted in fairer pay and benefits for hardworking caregivers as well as improved training, safety and health protections, and tools to help those who need care to find it. The Court’s decision will not only make it significantly harder for these dedicated employees to get a fair shake in exchange for their hard work, but will make it harder for states and cities to ensure the elderly and Americans with disabilities get the care they need and deserve.
Illinois is one of 26 states where if you work in the public sector (police, DMV, teachers, etc.) you are required to pay union dues whether you like it or not. The issue at hand, though, were not public employees. The plaintiffs in this case were individuals hired by patients (mostly elderly) to help them out at home. This so-called employee could be a family-member, friend or neighbor. Medicaid does help pay for some of the services, but in no way were these workers public employees.
Given the narrow SCOTUS ruling and the context of the true status of these home healthcare workers, the White House’s warning only comes off as shrill fear-mongering.
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