Court Says Unions Can't Force Health Workers to Pay Dues

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The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Illinois in-home public health care workers cannot be forced to pay labor union dues, but declined to go as far as foes wanted in weakening public-sector unions.

The court ruled for a small group of Illinois workers who provide home health care to patients on Medicaid. They argued that they should not be forced to pay union dues if they disagree with the positions the unions take in collective bargaining with the state. Such a requirement, they said, violated their First Amendment rights.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1977 that employees who chose not to join a union could still be required to help pay the costs of the union’s collective bargaining efforts. But it said they could not be forced to pay for a union's political expression.

— Pete Williams