Labor

Forced Unionization of Home Care Workers Before the Supreme Court

Plaintiffs argue rights to free speech and association violated

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Honk if you love irony!
Credit: seiu1199p / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

The Supreme Court will be hearing today a potentially very important freedom of association case that hasn't gotten a huge amount of publicity as yet, partly because the court decided to take it on while we were in the midst of that scary government shutdown (that wasn't actually all that scary).

Harris v. Quinn plunges deep into the methods that labor unions have been using to survive even as fewer and fewer people seem interested in joining. Namely, government force. In Illinois in 2003 and 2009, the state decided to treat all home-care health workers who received Medicaid subsidies as though they were government employees (though they are still privately employed) and required them to accept Service Employees International Union as their bargaining representative, whether they wanted to or not. They are required to pay dues to the union for this service, regardless of whether they want it or want to be in the union.

A pack of home-care workers are suing, arguing that being forced to pay SEIU for representation violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and association. The Cato Institute (who has a primer on the case here) has submitted a brief (pdf), along with the National Federation of Independent Business and the Michigan-Based, free-market think-tank Mackinac Center, in support of the plaintiffs.

Of note in Cato's argument is that they tackle two of the major arguments that the courts have accepted to allow for compulsory membership in unions at places of government – to preserve "labor peace" (conflicts resulting from multiple bargaining representatives for different employees doing the same work) and to avoid "free riders," those who reap the rewards of collective agreements without contributing to the costs of representation.

It should be fairly obvious that in the case of often self-employed home health workers, these two arguments don't apply. The workers are hired by and work for individuals, and that's not changing. There are no threats to labor peace, nor would there be any free riders. These home care workers all work in the same field but they are in no sense in the same business together. In Cato's brief, they note that this forced unionization is only about lobbying for more pay and benefits, using the union to give "feedback" to the state about rates set by laws. It is offering nothing else. Thus, Cato notes, the state has no actual compelling interest in forcing home care workers into accepting union representation:

Even if compelling "feedback" were a legitimate state interest, the means selected by Illinois are far too blunt. "If the State has open to it a less drastic way of satisfying its legitimate interests, it may not choose a legislative scheme that broadly stifles the exercise of fundamental personal liberties." … In particular, a state may override the freedom of expressive association only where its interests "cannot be achieved through means significantly less restrictive of associational freedoms." … If the State's genuine purpose is to seek feedback from personal assistants, it might survey or interview them or undertake any of a number of far "less drastic" alternatives. It therefore may not command them to assemble for the very purpose of expressive association.

Too long, didn't read version: The state can't force home care workers into unions and make them pay the union money entirely for the purpose of the union lobbying the state to pay the workers more money (some of which will then go back to the union). Instead they could just survey home care workers.

A Washington Examiner piece suggests that this case could be a "sleeper" that could have major consequences. The SEIU president in Illinois, in the subtle, understated language union leaders are known for, told AlJazeera the plaintiffs want to "destroy things for working people in the U.S."

While it's an important case, the complexities of the situation are enough that a pro-free association decision could be written narrowly enough so that it only applies to these privately hired individual workers. It would be a big win for private self-employed people being dragooned into a union for no rational reason but to bolster union ranks, but it may not be the kind of test case some are clearly hoping for.

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  1. FREE RIDERZ

    1. Just more labor theory of value derp from the unions. Price is what the market will bare, and labor is not immune.

      1. the market will bare bear.

        I like to imagine the market is a young, naked Ayn Rand, so its more of a Freudian slip than a grammatical error.

        1. Very Freudian.

          Describe, in single words, only the good things that come into your mind about, your mother.

          1. I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me.

  2. …a pro-free association decision could be written narrowly enough so that it only applies to these privately hired individual workers.

    Could and will.

  3. Very nice test case, IMO. You want to pick one that forces your opponent into a weak position, and this does so nicely.

    Then, once you have set a precedent, you can look at expanding it.

    I doubt the Court will decide this on free speech grounds, since free speech is the super-uber-special right that gets all the best deference from the Court and would force them to subject all kinds of other forced-unionization (including “closed shop” deals) measures to super-uber-special scrutiny, and they know where that will lead.

    Even so, a ruling against forced association would be almost as big a deal, with all kinds of implications.

    The facts on this case are just so bad, though, that its hard to see SCOTUS agreeing that the state can just order people to join unions, period. That is also a terrible precedent. The basis here seems to be that getting paid by Medicaid is sufficient grounds for forced unionization, which is a door that, once kicked open, would allow the state to order physicians and other health care providers into a union. Expand that Medicaid to any state program (because there’s no principled difference), and you are now to a point where anyone who is paid by the state to do anything can be forced into a union.

  4. Would all businesses that accept EBT cards have to unionize as well? ‘Cause that’s government dollars too.

    In Minnesota, Governor Dayton keeps pushing for unionization of people who do childcare in their homes. Fucking asshole.

    1. Would all businesses that accept EBT cards have to unionize as well? ‘Cause that’s government dollars too.

      Don’t give them any ideas.

  5. …the state decided to treat all home-care health workers who received Medicaid subsidies as though they were government employees (though they are still privately employed) and required them to accept Service Employees International Union as their bargaining representative, whether they wanted to or not. They are required to pay dues to the union for this service, regardless of whether they want it or want to be in the union.

    Now, someone explain to me the difference between this, and collection of taxes to pay for…oh, pretty much any government “service”.

    1. SOSHUL CAWNTRAKT!

  6. The basis here seems to be that getting paid by Medicaid is sufficient grounds for forced unionization, which is a door that, once kicked open, would allow the state to order physicians and other health care providers into a union.

    COMMERCE CLAUSE, FTW!

  7. Of course, this furthers the government’s war on independent contractors, so they will fight tooth and nail for it. I’m surprised they have not already found a way to force individual home care providers into umbrella “government contractors” and declare them employees of those contractors. After that, unionization is easy.

    1. Good point. If SCOTUS does the right thing here, it will undoubtedly be tied to the provider’s status as individual independent contractors.

      Not sure if Illinois is forcing providers who are technically employees of a business, rather than stand-alone individual contractors, into a union. I don’t think they can do that, because those businesses have rights under the NLRA to elections and so forth.

      1. If SCOTUS does the right thing here

        Breath. I’m not holding it.

        I’d like to have some faith in the current line-up, but it appears to be more Keystone than anything else.

    2. Their first mistake was trying to conduct business in a third world shithole like Illinois. A 100 mile drive would put them in any of several better states, and they could let IL fuck itself to death, as more businesses do every year.

      IL’s like CA without the scenery and hot chicks.

  8. Penaltax.

  9. “It would be a big win for private self-employed people being dragooned into a union for no rational reason but to bolster union ranks, but it may not be the kind of test case some are clearly hoping for.”

    Yes, I agree, it’s hard to see how this has any broad application. This seems like a vast and desperate overstep by the SEIU. I think this is more a sign that the SEIU sees the writing on the wall, and they realize the Unions “won”. They had all their major complaints written into law, (overtime, holidays, sick leave, minimum wages, family leave, etc) and now they don’t have a reason to exist.

    At this point, private unions may well be a net negative for their members. And certainly they are a net negative at the margin, as evidenced by their dwindling membership.

    1. Yes, I agree, it’s hard to see how this has any broad application.

      We’ll see, but the more I think about it, the more I see ways to write the decision narrowly, and not even in ways that implicate the Constitution. I’m no union expert, but there may be conceptual problems with this under the NLRA, which is written (generally) on the premise that employees are unionized to bargain with their employer. The state is not their employer, and they are not the state’s (or anyone’s) employees, so this just doesn’t fit at all.

  10. Why don’t we pretend this is about free association and not about activist conservatives trying to dismantle unions because bosses would prefer that workers not be able to collectively bargain? Oh good.

    1. Needz moar scare quotes.

    2. Why don’t we pretend you’re not a total idiot? Oh darn.

      1. I don’t think I can suspend my disbelief that far Sarcasmic.

    3. Someone who’s their own boss already collectively bargains.

    4. Holy shit, the ‘Tony’ puppeteers aren’t even trying anymore.

      1. They got unionized. See what happens?

        1. Slow clap.

    5. Why don’t we note pretend it’s about anything, and just look at the horrifying facts of the case?

      No need to look for broader implications; this is an abhorrent practice.

    6. So, you don’t think that the right to decline to collectively bargain is worth anything?

      1. STOP PRETENDING THAT IT’S REAL.

    7. I have to say that the most interesting thing about this bit of trolling is that it does show the purest form of Progtard motivation. Logic is irrelevant. Rules are irrelevant. The Constitution is irrelevant. Only outcome matters.

      1. Nope. Only intentions matter, not outcomes.

    8. Uh, how does one worker working for one employer “collectively bargain?”

  11. Of note in Cato’s argument is that they tackle two of the major arguments that the courts have accepted to allow for compulsory membership in unions at places of government ? to preserve “labor peace” (conflicts resulting from multiple bargaining representatives for different employees doing the same work) and to avoid “free riders,” those who reap the rewards of collective agreements without contributing to the costs of representation.

    Neither of these arguments is very compelling, regardless of whether or not they apply to the situation created by home health workers. A situation in which multiple groups of employees (even possibly with the same job roles) are simultaneously petitioning their employer for redress of different issues does not in any way inhibit the ability of employees to organize as a whole. Similarly, the fact that employees who are not part of the union may still benefit from the collective action of the unionized employees does not in any way inhibit the ability of employees who wish to organize to do so.

    That any court would accept the validity of these clearly illogical arguments without question is absurd.

  12. Would that those home care workers placed the heads of the SEIU leadership on pikes outside the Illinois capitol building.

    Damn, there I go again with the eliminationist rhetoric.

  13. Somebody explain to me again, in small words, the precise difference between a Union, a Government, and a gang of professional criminals?

    1. After you name one political belief you hold that isn’t a slow, warm hand job for corporations.

      1. Working with or in a union is a soul-crushing experience. The fact that unions have been in decline for the last 30 years, despite the massive legal protections that support their existence, is a testament to their inability to provide value to workers.

        Have you ever worked in or with a union, Tony? Even a pussified union, not a hardcore industrial union? This is a serious question.

        1. No I’ve been in the private sector my entire career. Unions don’t exist here anymore. What also doesn’t exist is a raising standard of living for workers, despite large gains in productivity and profitability. Go figure.

          1. Tony|1.21.14 @ 12:03PM|#
            “No I’ve been in the private sector my entire career.”

            Wasting your employer’s money the whole time.

          2. What universe do you live in that unions don’t exist in the private sector?

            1. Okay so like 6% of the private workforce is unionized. And clearly they must be crushed.

              1. Libertarians do not oppose unionization. We oppose forced unionization. Fucking idiot.

              2. Tony|1.21.14 @ 12:36PM|#
                “Okay so like 6% of the private workforce is unionized.”

                Yes, and the membership is falling like a rock as people realize how harmful unions are.

                1. Yes that’s it.

          3. What also doesn’t exist is a raising standard of living for workers

            Only if you are a complete idiot who measures their standard of living only on income, and not on what that income can buy.

            1. Tony measures a person’s income only by how much more someone else earns.

          4. I worked for several years as an engineer at a major aerospace company whose non-salaried employees were either members of the UAW or the IAMAW (International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers). I worked on the shop floor with teams of union mechanics who were assigned to my projects.

            The relationship between the union workers and the “management” was incredibly antagonistic, but the hate was solely initiated by the union and not at all reciprocated by the engineers and managers. The union culture bred contempt and mistrust of anyone who was not a member. Here are a few anecdotes…

          5. I was once written up and penalized for passing a wrench to a mechanic who was on his back working underneath an engine.

            If I wanted to move a piece of tooling I had to fill out a form and wait 1-2 hours for the union forklift operator to come by and move it, even if I could pick it up myself.

            I had a critical engine build that I needed to get out on schedule and the union mechanic assigned to me spent the entire second shift sitting on the loading dock smoking cigarettes. When I brought this up to the union rep, he told me to go fuck myself.

            Per policy, the mechanics were given 15 min break every 2 hours and 30 minutes for lunch. In reality, they took a 45 minute break every 2 hours and 1 hour for lunch.

            Some union workers in the building next to mine had an “office” party for a retiring employee. Without anyone’s knowledge, they hired strippers for the party. A manager walked in on one of the employees fucking a stripper from behind while she was bent over a table. He was fired, but the union appealed and he was rehired.

            I started at the company as a 19 year old intern. I asked a mechanic to please try and finish a certain operation by a certain time. He accused me of bird-dogging him and refused to work. In essence, I faced a temper-tantrum from an able-bodied man old enough to be my grandfather.

            1. I had jobs back in the day at both a unionized factory and an non-unionized. I can also attest that the union shop was a pain in the ass enviroment of busy body rules. If you wanted to borrow a tool, you had to go through this day long process of filling out paperwork to get it. There was no fleixibility at all, because the union mentality was very adversarial. The union would demand stirck enforcement of stupid rules and the managment recipricated with strict enforcment of it’s rules.

              In contrast, the non-union shop was far more fleixble, relations between engineers and floor workers were much better and you didn’t get stuck in insane bureacratic messes for doing the simplest of things.

              I much prefered the non-union place and I was an hourly worker at the time at both and I made slightly more at the non-union shop.

          6. I now work at another aerospace company that is non-unionized. Most of the mechanics and machinists I work with now are former union members who couldn’t stand the union culture. Productive people leave the union and go other placed, even if they make less money.

            Despite my experiences, I am actually pro-union. Employees should certainly be able to organize themselves and petition their employers for a redress of grievances. However, current labor laws so distort the balance of power in favor of established unions that employees and employers have no recourse. Old-style unions represent the antithesis of productive business.

        2. Working is so…pedestrian. Next you’ll ask him if he’s ever shopped at Walmart or watched Nascar!

      2. The government shouldn’t bail out banks/industries? That counts, right?

        1. I’m not sure it does. Absent some efficacious alternative, not doing the bailouts would have surely resulted in far more misery for working stiffs and poor people than for the bank bigwigs.

          1. Goal posts move once again.

            1. I suppose I can give it to you, but it’s kind of a bullshit answer. Nobody loved the bailouts. They weren’t designed to be admirable policy. They were an emergency measure–one you guys don’t offer an alternative to that isn’t fantasy or horror.

              1. Swooosshhhh

      3. After you name one political belief you hold that isn’t a slow, warm hand job for corporations.

        OK, howsabout this:

        The government should never pay a single penny to any corporation that isn’t fair market value for goods and services rendered. No subsidies, no bailouts, nothing.

        1. Tony believes that not taking is giving. So every dollar of profit that the government doesn’t take is a gift. Only when the government takes all corporate profits will it cease to subsidize them.

      4. Says the guy who supports the largest welfare program in exitence – the Fed – who’s primary beneficiaries are the financial sector and the already wealthy.

        Says the guy who supports the regulatory state which allows corporations to squash competition.

        Says the guy who supports corporate subsidies.

        Says the guy who supports corporate bailouts.

        1. Blahblahblah. I do not support having a central bank, regulations, and subsidies for the sake of wealthy interests. You’re sitting here fitting a halo to your head because you think that being against pollution standards makes you for the little guy? Does it ever get hard to breathe being this deep in bullshit?

          Let me rephrase in a way that perhaps doesn’t allow for so much of it: do you have a single political belief that materially benefits a worker at the expense of his employer?

          1. do you have a single political belief that materially benefits a worker at the expense of his employer?

            Why don’t you just come out and say you support coercion and theft. Oh, that would be honest.

          2. I do not support having a central bank, regulations, and subsidies for the sake of wealthy interests.

            Goalposts go whoooosh.

            do you have a single political belief that materially benefits a worker at the expense of his employer?

            Oh, I see. You’re not free unless you can bring the guns of the state to bear on others.

            1. So that’s a no?

              1. Do you believe in freedom of association?

                1. Yes–for workers as well as employers. You don’t like the union set-up at this shop? You’re free to work somewhere else. Isn’t that what you guys like to say every time anyone brings up the behavior of employers?

                  1. So that’s a no?

                  2. Yes–for workers as well as employers. You don’t like the union set-up at this shop? You’re free to work somewhere else. Isn’t that what you guys like to say every time anyone brings up the behavior of employers?

                    I would agree with this.

                    If workers can achieve a closed shop through open bargaining, they win and the guy who doesn’t want to join the union loses. That’s perfectly fair.

                    But the overwhelming majority of closed shops in the US weren’t achieved that way.

          3. Go fuck yourself Tony. It doesn’t matter what your intentions are, the results of all of your sacred left wing programs have hurt small business and helped grow large corporations to record sizes.

            Bringing down the employer to hold up the worker is your only answer because you think there is only a set size pie for everyone to grab at. The fact that you can’t grasp that wealth isn’t stagnant, that it isn’t zero sum, means we will never be able to discuss anything with you. Your complete belief in taxation at gun point for anything you can dream up is completely immoral and disgusting. You are among the lowest forms of life.

            1. So that’s a no?

              1. By your definition of your question (which involves the initiation of force), yes, my answer is no.

          4. I do not support having a central bank, regulations, and subsidies for the sake of wealthy interests.

            It doesn’t matter why you support these policies. It matters that they in fact support wealthy interests.

            Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

            1. They also support civilization itself.

              1. So you don’t support civilization?

          5. Let me rephrase in a way that perhaps doesn’t allow for so much of it: do you have a single political belief that materially benefits a worker at the expense of his employer?

            If by this question you mean, “Are you willing to do violence to a right you acknowledge in another context, in order to advance ‘equity’ by giving a worker an unearned benefit from his employer?” then yeah my answer is No.

            My position is simple:

            1. If any economic transaction anywhere in the system allows for choice and consent on behalf of the purchaser, then choice and consent must be allowed to those who purchase labor too.

            2. If free association exists anywhere in the system, free association must exist for employers and workers too.

            1. The problem is, here in reality, a capitalist system inevitably leaves employers “more equal” than workers with respect to access to free association (and every other freedom). When your livelihood depends on your employer, they have a lot of de facto influence over your freedom. You guys have to incorporate natural power relationships into your worldview for it to actually address the real world. Government is not the only source of coercive power there is.

              1. Shorter Tony: I am an idiot who is physically unable to understand what the word “voluntary” means.

              2. When your livelihood depends on your employer, they have a lot of de facto influence over your freedom.

                “Unless I can force you to be my slave, I’ll have to worry about how to earn my living and then I’m not free.”

              3. Not providing you a job is not coercion. Otherwise, you’re violating the rights of millions right now.

                1. Not providing you a job is not coercion.

                  Tony believes that not giving is taking and not taking is giving.

                  Therefore an employer not giving something is the same as that employer taking that something away.

                  Inaction is action. Dark is light. Vacuum is mass. Silence is sound.

              4. Tony|1.21.14 @ 1:01PM|#
                “The problem is, here in reality, a capitalist system inevitably leaves employers “more equal” than workers with respect to access to free association (and every other freedom).”

                Assertion posing as argument. Again.

          6. You may not support those things for the sake of wealthy interests, but that’s who actually benefits from all of your progroms.

            1. I’m not sure if that was supposed to be “programs” or “pogroms”, but it’s an interesting mash up.

    2. The professional criminals face consequences for their actions.

    3. A union is a cartel, intending to protect its own interests and nominally the interest of its members, at the expense of the general public.

      The government is a group of armed killers who claim the right to kill you and take your stuff under color of law.

      Organized crime is a group of armed killers who claim the right to kill you and take your stuff because they are able to.

      1. To close the loop:

        Unions are often closely affiliated with organized crime, with the union serving as a source of revenue and organized crime serving as an enforcement arm.

        Unions are often closely affiliated with government, with the union serving as a source of revenue and organized crime serving as an enforcement arm.

        1. What you did there, I saw it.

  14. the state decided to treat all home-care health workers who received Medicaid subsidies as though they were government employees (though they are still privately employed) and required them to accept Service Employees International Union as their bargaining representative, whether they wanted to or not.

    We’ve seen this reasoning played out with category grants and Pell Grants. Taking FedGov money is an invitation to set a hook in your jaw that they will inevitably use against you.

  15. This case is suspicious for a couple reasons. There was no split at the circuit level. Everyone agreed that there are 40 years of precedent that says workers may be compelled to pay the equivalent of union dues if they are receiving the benefit of (nonpolitical) union activities. Also, whether the home healthcare workers are considered state employees depends on the particulars of how Medicaid is administered in the state–not an issue the SC would typically involve itself with. It seems quite likely that they granted cert in order to chip away at the aforementioned decades of case law. That’s the activist judiciary thing everyone rants about.

    1. Tony|1.21.14 @ 11:58AM|#
      “This case is suspicious for a couple reasons.”

      Where’d you find the copy-and-paste?

    2. Yay, everyone who receives Medicaid payments is an employee of the state. This means we can skip over the humiliation that is Obamacare and jump right into single payer. It is a glorious day to be alive indeed comrade!

      1. As I said, whether the workers are considered state employees depends on how Medicaid is administered. The 7th Circuit ruled that the workers were to be considered state employees because of how much control Illinois asserts over their jobs. It may be different in another state. The point is, the question would normally be allowed to work its way through the courts over a longer period to see if any splits pop up. But the SC took the case with no splits. So the only conclusion we can draw is the SC conservatives are eager to make new law.

        1. Tony|1.21.14 @ 12:19PM|#
          …”So the only conclusion we can draw is the SC conservatives are eager to make new law.”

          Do you ever post without some helping of mendacity?
          Others might conclude you’re a slimy turd without a hint of good faith.

    3. There was no split at the circuit level.

      Conflict between Courts of Appeal are not necessary for certiorari to be granted.

      Everyone agreed that there are 40 years of precedent that says workers may be compelled to pay the equivalent of union dues if they are receiving the benefit of (nonpolitical) union activities.

      The impetus is on the union to justify the collection of the agency fee related to collective bargaining and that the nonmember has enjoyed some benefit of the collective bargaining agreement for which a share is owed.

      Also, whether the home healthcare workers are considered state employees depends on the particulars of how Medicaid is administered in the state–not an issue the SC would typically involve itself with.

      I’m sorry, did you forget what business the Supreme Court is in? (interpreting the law)

      It seems quite likely that they granted cert in order to chip away at the aforementioned decades of case law.

      Judicial review is a harsh mistress (as your ilk reminded us when Sebelius was handed down). She goes from blowing you to twisting your balls like a corkscrew in less than second.

      That’s the activist judiciary thing everyone rants about.

      I still haven’t heard any legitimate complaint as to why the Supreme Court should not hear the case.

      Work harder, Tony w/o spaces.

      1. They’re entitled to hear the case, but given no conflict in lower courts and that the case is over a state law, and given the SC conservatives’ not-so-hidden eagerness to do away with mandatory dues, all I’m saying is their taking the case is suspicious.

        1. not-so-hidden eagerness to do away with mandatory dues

          And why should they hide that? Even if you disagree for practical reasons, it is hardly a surprising position to take that people should not be forced to pay dues to an organization that they declined to join voluntarily.

          1. Actually it’s kind of a radical position given the history of the question in case law, and it’s certainly a rhetorical Trojan horse dreamed up by anti-union activists. I’m not saying there are members of the SC who are pretending to believe in the free association argument while secretly doing the bidding of corporate interests, but they have been reared on Federalist Society mumbo jumbo. It seems painfully difficult for conservatives in this day and age to understand the concept that you owe money for services rendered. It’s ironic and strange.

            1. It seems painfully difficult for conservatives in this day and age to understand the concept that you owe money for services rendered.

              If somebody comes and washes my car without my permission, I don’t owe them anything.

              1. Okay, but lots of services you benefit from are rendered without your explicit permission, and if that reality were changed, you could get away with a lot of free stuff merely by claiming you didn’t want it.

                1. Okay, but lots of services you benefit from are rendered without your explicit permission, and if that reality were changed, you could get away with a lot of free stuff merely by claiming you didn’t want it.

                  No there aren’t.

                  If someone sends you goods unsolicited in the mail, or performs a service that you have not ordered (mowing your lawn, for example) it’s settled commercial law that you don’t have to pay. Not only that, but you don’t have to give back the goods, and the service provider may not take any step to undo the service (by damaging your lawn, for example).

                  If you provide an unsolicited good or service you have virtually no protection under existing commercial law. And rightly so.

                2. “Okay, but lots of services you benefit from are rendered without your explicit permission, and if that reality were changed, you could get away with a lot of free stuff merely by claiming you didn’t want it.”

                  Was wondering ho long it would take to get to The Roadz.

            2. the concept that you owe money for services rendered

              Even if those services were not asked for and no agreement about payment was made? So I can just do something on your behalf, whether you ask me to or not, and send you a bill and you have to pay me for it? Why didn’t anyone tell me about this before? I could be making way more money than I am now.

              You owe me $800 by the way. Contact me through the link in my name and I’ll give you an address you can send the money to.

            3. It seems painfully difficult for conservatives in this day and age to understand the concept that you owe money for services rendered.

              Typically, you must consent to having a service done on your behalf and agree to the amount to be paid for the service before you are held liable for payment.

              Now go ahead and whip out that social contract that we all signed without ever having signed and point to the clause that shows we are all liable for paying union dues based on accepting Medicaid payments.

              1. Workers have to accept the terms of their employers, why shouldn’t unions also be allowed to set terms in union shops?

                1. If I can get a majority of the people who visit your house to decide we should be allowed to set the terms of living in your house, then why shouldn’t we be allowed to?

                2. Going back to the original set of facts, home healthcare workers are not employees; they are independent contractors.

                  If there is no “union shop” in effect how can a person be held to union shop rules?

                3. why shouldn’t unions also be allowed to set terms in union shops?

                  They are. That has no bearing on this case as there is no union shop here.

                  Where’s my $800?

        2. They’re entitled to hear the case, but given no conflict in lower courts and that the case is over a state law

          Why, Tony w/o spaces, I do you hear you making Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee noises. It didn’t work 198 years ago. Why would the argument against USSC appellate power work now?

          and given the SC conservatives’ not-so-hidden eagerness to do away with mandatory dues

          Citation? Also, why are mandatory dues a good thing? I know didn’t get any use out of my “contributions” when I worked for UPS.

          all I’m saying is their taking the case is suspicious

          Of course that’s all your saying. But take heart. Maybe Roberts will throw you another penaltax ruling.

          1. Dues for nonunion workers are a necessary component of a functioning union system since unions act on behalf of nonmembers as well as members. Sort of how you pay taxes that cover the salaries of firefighters even if your house never catches fire. As you know, it exists to eliminate free lunches.

            1. Dues for nonunion workers are a necessary component of a functioning union system since unions act on behalf of nonmembers as well as members.

              Unions aren’t the state, Tony.

              No other association type in existence receives this kind of privilege enforced by state violence.

              The entire “free rider” argument is crap.

              If I formed an association of shoppers, and lobbied my local Safeway for a more liberal double coupon policy, or for increased parking lot lighting, if I was successful people outside of my association would also reap the benefits. You know what? That’s too fucking bad.

              When I set about to engage in private and voluntary conduct to improve my own situation, I may incidentally improve the situation of others. That doesn’t mean I should get to have the state point a gun at those people (or their employers) and force them to give me money.

              1. Unions may receive special privileges and those may even be unique, but there’s a reason for them–businesses receive their own set of special and unique privileges (at the point of a gun, if you must). Unionization is the only known way for workers to gain the ability to lever employers. Just as the state sets up limited liability protections (not for the benefit of individual business owners, but for the benefit of society), it also should set up the necessary rights for unions (again, for the benefit of society–one in which most people are workers and not employers). Nobody said this system wasn’t artificial. But the same can be said about most aspects of capitalism.

                1. Tony|1.21.14 @ 12:58PM|#
                  …”businesses receive their own set of special and unique privileges (at the point of a gun, if you must).”

                  RELEVANT cite missing.

                2. for the benefit of society–one in which most people are workers and not employers

                  And here we get to the heart of the matter.

                  Since you realize by now that the distinction between purchasing labor and purchasing other goods or services is entirely artificial and cannot be supported by logic, you now step out from behind the curtain and declare what was always your true intention:

                  There are more workers than employers, so fuck employers and their ‘rights’.

            2. Tony|1.21.14 @ 12:46PM|#
              “Dues for nonunion workers are a necessary component of a functioning union system since unions act on behalf of nonmembers as well as members.”

              No, they aren’t an you saying so does not change that.
              The market, absent union thugs and slimy turds like you, is perfectly capable of setting wages.

            3. Dues for nonunion workers are a necessary component of a functioning union system

              How so?

              since unions act on behalf of nonmembers as well as members.

              If a nonmember is willing to work for less than a member or does not utilize any benefit supposedly gained from collective bargaining, how does the union act in the nonmember’s interest or on his behalf? It would seem to me that the union is actually hostile to the nonmember.

              Sort of how you pay taxes that cover the salaries of firefighters even if your house never catches fire

              First, volunteer firefighters aren’t paid. They are reimbursed. Second, firefighters don’t protect any individual homeowner. The city pays the fire department to make sure the city doesn’t burn down. The fact that your house doesn’t burn down is incidental to that goal.

              As you know, it exists to eliminate free lunches.

              Free-riders are bad, but rent seeking is good, as long as it is a union and not one of those EVIL corporations (btw, unions are corporations. Their incorporation documents are a matter of public record in nearly every state in which they have members).

              1. If a nonmember is willing to work for less than a member or does not utilize any benefit supposedly gained from collective bargaining, how does the union act in the nonmember’s interest or on his behalf?

                If that’s the actual choice a worker has–join the union or make less money–there wouldn’t be a free rider problem, not least because there wouldn’t be any nonunion workers. Everything has a price, and principles are cheap.

                But they don’t. What makes unions different from other types of organizations is at the heart of the matter. Mandatory dues go hand-in-hand with the statutory obligation of unions to work equally on behalf of nonmembers and members alike. Nonmembers couldn’t refuse the free lunch even if they wanted to.

                1. If that’s the actual choice a worker has–join the union or make less money–there wouldn’t be a free rider problem, not least because there wouldn’t be any nonunion workers. Everything has a price, and principles are cheap.

                  And we return to historical fact that unions are merely cartels of labor. Your reasoning is faulty as is demonstrated by history. If one member or nonmember of a cartel undercuts the established cartel price of the good or service, then the buyers rush to that seller and the cartel goes under. So your conclusion is backwards. There would be no union members if actual choice between joining a union and making less money existed.

                  Mandatory dues go hand-in-hand with the statutory obligation of unions to work equally on behalf of nonmembers and members alike.

                  So, to wrap up your argument for you, labor unions cannot exist without coercive force? That without the intervening power of the state, the organization is either otherwise unlawful or unsustainable?

                  That sounds suspiciously similar to…a corporation?

                  Nonmembers couldn’t refuse the free lunch even if they wanted to.

                  And what exactly is this supposedly free lunch that is at issue, specifically? And what characterizes this tasty free lunch that no one can refuse it?

                  1. Yes they share traits with corporations. Both are given special privileges by the state for society’s benefit, and ideally one does not have too much power over the other, but through a tension set up by public policy can make life better for everyone. But only one has been utterly decimated by politicians acting on behalf of the other.

                    1. Tony|1.21.14 @ 3:21PM|#
                      “Yes they share traits with corporations.”…

                      Yeah, they both have names.
                      A corporation is given no benefits; the investors’ possible losses are limited to the amount invested.
                      But you knew that, and you were just trying to slide one of your slimy lies through, right?

                    2. But only one has been utterly decimated by politicians acting on behalf of the other.

                      Because businesses aren’t hurt by choking taxes and regulations. There aren’t thousands of businesses put out of business a year because they couldn’t navigate the federal and their state code. That never happens.

                  2. The free lunch is what is gained by collective bargaining–higher wages, benefits, etc.

                    1. Tony|1.21.14 @ 3:22PM|#
                      “The free lunch is what is gained by collective bargaining–higher wages, benefits, etc.”

                      Not if the employer isn’t unionized. Fail.

        3. Tony|1.21.14 @ 12:25PM|#
          …”SC conservatives’ not-so-hidden eagerness to do away with mandatory dues,”…

          Yeah, shame on them for not wanting to waste money on the union administration!

    4. Also, whether the home healthcare workers are considered state employees depends on the particulars of how Medicaid is administered in the state

      No it doesn’t. Employment is a pretty well-defined relationship. And, it has lots of implications. If they are employees of the state, where’s their benefits? Is the state withholding payroll taxes? Do they have sovereign immunity?

      You can’t have an employment relationship for some purposes and not others. That’s the first hurdle they fail to cross.

      Which sets up the second hurdle: if they aren’t employees, they can’t be union members. The NLRA applies only to employees, and not to independent contractors:

      The NLRA applies to employees and employers, and specifically excludes independent contractors:

      (3) The term “employee” shall include any employee, . . . but shall not include . . . any individual having the status of an independent contractor,

      Employees shall have the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing,

      http://www.nlrb.gov/resources/…..ations-act

      This goes off as an NLRA case, with SCOTUS ruling simply that independent contractors

    5. There are absolutely no nonpolitical activities this union could possibly undertake.

      PCA and Home Health Aide Medicaid compensation rates and work rules are set by a bureaucratic process involving CMS and the state Medicaid agency.

      They don’t negotiate pay. They don’t negotiate working conditions. They don’t negotiate ANYTHING.

      The only way the union could impact the process is by engaging in lobbying. A political activity.

    6. What nonpolitical union activities could they receive the benefit of? Medicaid is paid by the state, and the only thing the union can do for them there is to lobby the state for more Medicaid, which is certainly political.

  16. Responding to the master baiter ?

    1. Hey now! I’m the guy with a master gardener for a mother and a fisherman for a father!

  17. Everyone agreed that there are 40 years of precedent that says workers may be compelled to pay the equivalent of union dues if they are receiving the benefit of (nonpolitical) union activities.

    FREE RIDERZ! KULAKS WRECKERS HOARDERS!

  18. Fuckers.

  19. I thought all constitutional rights were already null and void as soon as somebody attempts to make an evil profit. So I’m not optimistic.

  20. The SEIU president in Illinois, in the subtle, understated language union leaders are known for, told AlJazeera the plaintiffs want to “destroy things for working people in the U.S.”

    Nothing says “working people” like government leeches.

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