Supreme Court

When the First Amendment Collides with Organized Labor

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At National Review, attorneys David Rivkin and Andrew Grossman highlight the issues at stake in the case of Harris v. Quinn, which the Supreme Court is currently deciding whether or not to take up:

Theresa Riffey provides help around the home for her brother, a quadriplegic, and receives a small stipend from Illinois's Medicaid program for her efforts, saving the state the cost of providing full-time care. Illinois law requires her to pay a portion of her check every month to an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear her case that asks on what basis, besides raw political power, a state may compel independent home-care workers and other similarly situated self-employed persons to support and associate with a labor union against their will. For the sake of workers' First Amendment rights, it should take the case.

Read the whole story here.

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  1. “The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear her case that asks on what basis, besides raw political power, a state may compel independent home-care workers and other similarly situated self-employed persons to support and associate with a labor union against their will. ”

    A better way to phrase that question would be, “On what basis, besides syrupy emotional appeals, the state may allow people to take jobs away from union workers without compensating the union?”

    If we let her evade paying union dues, we have to let everyone who wants to do that work evade paying their dues.

    1. I thought it was very well said. Raw power, AKA naked aggression. Also known as “I’m bigger than you.” I’ve crossed a picket line before, and I had my life threatened at home for it. Then I had the cops ignore my calls when two union gentlemen kept visiting me.

    2. WTF??? You assume that jobs BELONG to union workers and non-union workers “take jobs away from union workers.” WTF???

      No, no, no.

      Union workers do not have more or greater rights than non-union workers. Union powers do not supercede basic human rights!!!

      Get it???

      And workers who don’t agree to join a union should not have union dues stolen from their paycheck and shouldn’t have to “evade” this theft!!!

      1. “You assume that jobs BELONG to union workers”

        The people, through their elected representatives, have deined it so.

        1. The people, through their elected representatives, have deigned it so. Therefore, I tell you again: You must move to the back of the bus.

          1. Fuck you, Hobie.

        2. Those slaves are my property. The people, through their elected representatives, have deigned it so.

          1. …which has fuck-all to do with the subject at hand, Godesky.

            1. That’s not White Retard, it’s someone noting the problems with Democratic Oligarchy Makes Right. White Retard doesn’t have nearly as much insight, and at any rate, would have made sure to turn it into an opportunity to troll libertarians.

              1. The word “property” in the post set off my Godesky Detector. I’m pretty sure it’s calibrated correctly.

    3. On what basis does SEIU have a monopoly claim on home care worker jobs?

      And why should they not be viciously mocked (at the very least) for making that claim?

      1. I think Hobie is making the libertarian case for us: Monopolies only exist where they are established and protected by the State.

        1. Wrong. One gas station in a desert town is a monopoly. A natural monopoly. Coercive monopolies are government-created or protected.

          L. von Mises’ exhaustive analysis here:
          http://mises.org/humanaction/chap16sec6.asp

          1. The one gas station in that desert is unlikely to be able to prevent another station from opening altogether, or force the new gas sration to pay it tribute.

            1. That new gas station better hope the existing one doesn’t decide to lower its prices right after they open. Otherwise they’re screwed, since they have to pay for the significant investment necessary to build and operate a gas station on half the profits they were expecting.

              1. You mean business planning involves taking into consideration what your competition might do in response to your actions? That’s so unfair!

                1. Not sure what your point here is; the fact that potential competitors do indeed take that into consideration is precisely why natural monopolies can continue to exist and continue to overcharge and underdeliver, with no worries about competitors moving in.

          2. It’s only a “natural” monopoly if the demand for gasoline is entirely sated by the single station and at a price that prevents other stations from seeing an opportunity to compete.

            1. Barriers to entry, both inherent and government-created, are pretty significant in the gas station business. So you can have market power in that case.

            2. And this is qualitatively different from the situation where demand is met by two or more stations.

              The only limit to the price gouging by a gas station with a natural monopoly is the possibility that people simply use less gas or come up with alternatives to gas. There is no possibility of competition moving in because the risk is too great to the potential competitor; the original station can lower its prices at any time, and the new competitor is going to have to pay back its investors with only half the revenue it was expecting.

              Whereas, when there are two or more stations, they can try to undercut each other at any time with no investment expenditure at all.

    4. Fuck you, Hobie.

      1. This can never be said too many times.

        1. I’ll say it again when he comes back around to bitch about how family members caring for their loved ones, should be FORCED to pay union dues.

          Or, any other time he opens his fuckin’ yap.

          1. Whoa… you’re saying Hobie *isn’t* a parody??…. I…. almost find that hard to believe….

            OK. FUCK YOU HOBIE!

            1. I doubt if Hobie is a fictional construct… he comes here too infrequently, though he could do us all a favor and never come here again.

              Or die in a fire, which would be infinitely better.

  2. Butbutbut… The First Amendment “is held by the PEOPLE, not by each individual person.” /sarc

  3. This is a huge case but so easy. She shouldn’t be forced to pay a PAC if the state wants to give her money.

    Not first I dare say.

  4. It would be nice if the SEIU’s naked display of raw political power finally bit it in the ass.

    1. But they only want a little bite… la mordita.

      Or, “forget about it Jake, it’s ChinatownIllinois”.

  5. If she has weekends she should be happy she only has to pay the Union so little!

  6. …on what basis, besides raw political power, a state may compel…

    Pretty much answers itself.

  7. I’m a little confused here- the article doesn’t really specify what their employment relationship is- are they paid 1099 independent contractor, or are they w-2 employees?

    IANA Labor L, but I always assumed independent contractor status meant, not employee, therefore no union representation. I don’t see how states could just decree it to not be so. If they are paid w-2, then it seems clear someone just needs to hire a decent labor lawyer to prove that they do not meet the legal definition of “employee”, which is seems clear they don’t.

    1. If she’s getting paid a stipend by the state I have to believe she’s getting a 1099-G, which is for payments from a local government (sometimes it’s for income tax refunds, sometimes it’s for payments such as these). It’s an interesting angle. I wonder how they report the withholding.

    2. OK, read the article. Of course the situation is super fucked up and goes against everything required in an employer-employee relationship.

      1. This is a disgusting way for unions to get more power – force people who take care of loved ones in-home, to pay union dues, thereby making them involuntary (and incorrectly categorized as) union members.

        Underhanded bullshit, is what it is. But then, we ARE talking about unions.

  8. That makes a lot of sense dude, scary!

    http://www.Went-Anon.tk

  9. Fuck you, Hobie.

    1. Wait, you mean that Hobie’s not a spoof?

      1. How the hell can you tell? It’s not like he’s making arguments other people don’t make.

        1. There’s hundreds of thousands of fellow-traveler types infesting this country, so Hobie is likely one of them.

          1. And we won’t stop until we’re East Germany, Part II: Before The Wall Fell and Made Us Cry.

      2. If I recall correctly, Hobie Hanson was one of the nom-de-plume’s of Dan T.

        And, yes, Dan T was a real individual.

        1. Dan T was no worse than some of our Free Republicers here. Why is it that the libertarians here are so much more comfortable with thinly veiled conservatives than thinly veiled liberals?

          1. Because capitalism is better than any alternative, MNG.

            Well, that’s one reason. But seriously, in a coin toss between the far-right and the far-left, either side that lands = we’re fucked.

            1. I don’t buy that conservatives are so pro-capitalist. If it’s a market transaction for drugs, or porn, or weed, or abortions, well, not so much. Both sides would restrict capitalism when something they like is threatened.

              Libertarians that think: a pox on both their houses make sense to me. Those that like either side get my “faker” radar up.

              1. I despise social conservativism, MNG. Fiscal, I’m fine with that.

                But, it would be a tough choice if all I had to choose from was the far-right and the far-left, because both sides are equally damaging to my liberty.

                1. They’re more capitalist than Team Blue, for the most part, MNG. Don’t tell me you believe otherwise…

                  1. Social conservatism is part of fiscal conservatism, you can’t just “abstract” one out of the other.

                    “They’re more capitalist than Team Blue, for the most part, MNG.”

                    Not at all, you’re just restating what you said before my examples without addressing them in the least. Polls consistently show that liberals are more likely to support allowing capitalist trades in areas like marijuana, porn or abortion. Each side protects some market exchanges against government coercion and targets some market exchanges with coercion.

                    1. Uh, yes, they can be “abstracted”.

                      “Allowing” capitalist trades in the areas you mention, maybe… but at what cost to the *rest* of capitalist trades? Hell, Team Blue is led by people who HATE capitalist trades. Seems a contradiction in and of itself.

                      I’m no fool, though… I’m no Team Red member, either. I said fuck-all to that shit over a decade ago, and gave up pining for socialism a decade before that.

                      In other words… I grew up.

          2. Dan T once condescendingly informed Kerry Howley that her uterus dictated her political views.

            He started out as an interesting – if assholish – person to debate and descended into an angry collection of ad hominems and false dichotomies – and eventually resorted to using trollishly multiple handles to get people to listen to him.

            1. Glad I missed him. Looks like I didn’t miss much.

            2. “He started out as an interesting – if assholish – person to debate and descended into an angry collection of ad hominems and false dichotomies”

              Gee tarran, it’s almost as if everyone you disagree with over a time goes down this path…

              1. So… Tony took this guy’s place, right?

              2. Gee tarran, it’s almost as if everyone you disagree with over a time goes down this path…

                Nope. Just the guys who can’t handle losing arguments. :

  10. Oh, and even though shrike hasn’t infested this thread – yet – it’s a good idea to say “fuck you, shrike” just as a preventative.

    1. Or just incif them. Save your precious hatred for the people in power.

      1. I think it’s more fun to skewer them, though I could do without the mindless one-line repostings of Jason Godesky.

        Besides, people like shrike, Tony, and Hobie deserve hatred because they put these people in power. Being good minions and all that.

        1. Representative government is a bitch.

          1. It isn’t when it works, which apparently ceased years decades ago.

  11. Bilateral monopoly.

    Getting rid of the Union makes the problem worse.

    1. I knew you were Team Blue, Derider.

  12. It might surprise some, but if I were an IL taxpayer I’d be a little miffed at how they bent over backward to get these people to bargain collectively with them. It was at least reasonable to not find these people state employees.

    But having said that, let me ask: what if an employer decided it would only contract for a certain item with members of the Better Business Bureau. If a non-BBB contractor complained that he wanted that business but didn’t like some political use of BBB funds, are his First Amendment rights being violated? That’s pretty much what’s going on here (the state is the employer, they’ve decided to contract for labor in this area only with workers represented by the SEIU, but the plaintiff doesn’t like what the SEIU does with member fees).

    1. If there’s a rational basis for restricting the population of allowable contractors, I could see it. There’s no such rational basis here. The SEIU provides no value to any party here, it just skims money and funnels it back to the Democratic Party. This is why the law exists.

      1. “The SEIU provides no value to any party here”

        The majority of the workers who voted for them to represent them seem to disagree.

        “If there’s a rational basis for restricting the population of allowable contractors, I could see it.”

        Well, like I said, I’m not sure what could possibly be the good reason here for the state. But, having said that, once they make the decision to go with only SEIU-represented labor, however foolishly, they are in the same position as the employer who decides to only contract with BBB members, and the plaintiff here is like a BBB member who wants a contract but doesn’t like the BBB’s stances and doesn’t want to have to be a member.

        1. The majority of the workers who voted for them to represent them seem to disagree.

          That obviously doesn’t include the home caregivers who are compelled to send the union money in exchange for…what, exactly? The union provides nothing for the money it gets. Or rather, it provides nothing but a funding mechanism for politicians that then vote to require home caregivers to pay it money in exchange for…nothing.

          A private firm might choose BBB members because it indicates a relatively better chance of getting good products and services, reducing risk. There’s nothing like that going on here.

          1. In exchange for not having to put all-new tires on their vehicles, for instance.

            1. Or get nasty scratches taken out of your fenders. Things happen, you know…

              1. Nice home-care setup ya got here. Be a real shame if somethin’ should happen to it…

          2. Look, you hate unions, we get it. And that hate is the source of such clumsy, sweeping assertions as this: “The union provides nothing for the money it gets”

            You hate them so much that it is not even conceivable to you that the majority of the workers that voted to certify the union to represent them thought that by bargaining collectively they will get a better deal in terms of salaries, benefits and protections. Nope, that’s not even imaginable to you. It must have been the threat of keyed cars.

            1. The funny thing is how people like you try to have your cake and eat it too. Part of the reason to be against collective bargaining is it will costs the taxpayer, but on the other hand the union provides nothing….

              It’s easy to imagine how collective bargaining “works” for the worker. Imagine you own a shop. If one worker tells you they will walk off over an issue it’s easy to let them go, you can run the shop without them (after all, you do it every time they are sick or absent). But if they all walked suddenly it is a bigger deal, you’d likely lose less by some concessions than in having to restaff everyone.

              That you can’t even conceptualize this possibility says something about the visceral, rather than intellectual, view of unions.

              1. So… either union-on-non-union violence doesn’t happen, or it’s no big deal… right, MNG?

            2. “Theresa Riffey provides help around the home for her brother, a quadriplegic, and receives a small stipend from Illinois’s Medicaid program for her efforts, saving the state the cost of providing full-time care. Illinois law requires her to pay a portion of her check every month to an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).”

              It is difficult to see how membership in SEIU benefits Theresa Riffey ir anyone else in her situation. It is difficult to see how she qualifies as a “worker”. Therefore it is difficult to justify why Riffey must pay tribute to SEIU.

    2. All the more reason ALL union members should be able to opt-out any portion of their dues spent on political activity, or at least to send it to the party of their choice/be able to have it NOT sent to ANY political party.

      1. Since the Beck decision, technically they can. They can also piss blood for a fortnight after getting a ball bat across the kidneys.

        1. Fear is their greatest weapon… second only to ball bats.

        2. Yes, all these people voted for the union at the threat of a baseball bat…Sheesh.

          1. I’ve had to talk my way out of having fists swung at me for merely voicing my opposition to unions, MNG.

            Have you? Of course not, that’s a silly question… you LOVE them.

            Why is it, you make sense now and then, but are so stuck in Team Blueism the rest of the time?

        3. Beck only allows a unionized worker to opt out of union political dues. Unfortunately they are stuck paying for other dues, even if they object and even if the dues are used against their interest (like for a teacher who would benefit from merit pay but has such a proposal blocked by the union).

          In this scheme, the only thing the union can do for these people is lobby the state for more subsidies. On that grounds this scheme should be overturned by the Supremes because forced lobbying is a violation of Beck (not to mention a more fundamental violation of freedom of association and speech).

          1. What Harry said.

  13. “It might surprise some, but if I were an IL taxpayer I’d be a little miffed at how they bent over backward to get these people to bargain collectively with them.”

    Let me clarify, the “they” is the state legislators. I’m generally in favor of collective bargaining laws, but in this case it was reasonable for these people to not be covered under them. It’s one thing to say “well, if you are under the law I guess we will bargain with you” and another to rush to pass a law to make it so. In the current fiscal situation most states are in that would bother me as taxpayer. It would be like when Scott Walker snuck the no-bid state assets sales into his union-busting bill, it’s like encouraging the taxpayer’s loss.

    1. The no-bid issue is phony, but I suspect you know that, Mange.

      1. I posted the entire measure here a while back, it most certainly directed several state agencies to sell assets without going through a proper bidding process. It’s something that got lost in the fracas over the union stuff.

        1. Here’s a pretty measured discussion about the provisions, including some nice dampening of “Kochtopus” conspiracy memes on the left (which I find silly and tiresome). But as the article says, it’s pretty irregular and likely a bad idea for taxpayers to sell assets without bids.

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/ri…..te-budget/

  14. I posted the entire measure here a while back, it most certainly directed several state agencies to sell assets without going through a proper bidding process.

    If you read the provision, you’ll notice that it directs no such thing. It does, however, permit no-bid sale or contracting when it is deemed to be efficient to do so.

    This is hardly controversial. Bids are not solicited in a vacuum, they often require large sums of money to create documentation that is distributd to bidders. If the cost of creating that documentation exceeds the expected value to be gained, it’s a benefit to the taxpayer to forego that process and simply sell off the asset or award the contract. Happens every day.

    1. Oops, this obviously belongs under your 8:38 post.

    2. You either think having a more objective process in sales of assets is better than some one bureaucrat saying “hey, this is in the public interest” or you don’t I guess. As the guy in the Forbes article, hardly sympathetic to the wild theories of the left, points out, it’s unusual to forego the bidding process for something like this kind of asset sale.

  15. I live in IL.

    The most shocking thing to me is that these checks are going out in the first place. The state is years late on most other payments.

    Which is probably why the checks are going out and the payments to the Union are made the way they are. The state could easily withhold the union portion and pay SEIU directly, but they don’t because the union actually wants to get paid and the state is years late on all other payments.

    No Medicaid, no union graft. That simple.

  16. The Supreme Court will soon decide whether to hear her case that asks on what basis, besides raw political power, a state may compel independent home-care workers and other similarly situated self-employed persons to support and associate with a labor union against their will.

    It isn’t “their will” if it isn’t their money. The state never has been and never will be the charity you wish they were.

  17. Only a useless asshole needs a union to work

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