Public Unions

Supreme Court Hears Case on Forced Unionization of Home Care Workers

Justice Scalia could end up being the swing vote

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The Supreme Court appeared close Tuesday—but maybe not close enough—to scaling back the ability of labor unions to represent public employees.

The case before them involved just eight home-care workers in Illinois who don't want union representation, and certainly don't want to pay union dues. But it has escalated into what Justice Antonin Scalia, the potential swing vote, said could amount to "destroying the ability of the union to get money."

For decades, the law has allowed unions to collect dues from all private or public employees it is required to represent. Those who object don't have to contribute to its political or lobbying activities, but they must chip in for wage, benefit and working conditions representation.