First, are home care aides correctly defined as public employees for the purposes of collective bargaining? [...]Unions and collective have improved working and living conditions for home care workers in many states, and in so doing have improved the level of service they're able to offer. Home care workers only unionize after a vote, and those who do not want to support the union's political activities can opt out of paying union dues, instead paying an agency or fair share fee that covers only the cost of representing them in the workplace. Whether this can continue, as courts have previously affirmed, is what the Supreme Court is now considering.
Second, can the union require non-members to pay "agency fees" to cover representation costs? [...]
Third, is bargaining on behalf of home care aides inherently different? National Right to Work claims that bargaining on behalf of home care aides should be considered petitioning of government. [...]
Finally, if the court were to side with NRTW's extremist position and rule against the right to charge non-members agency fees, does that ruling apply only to home care aides or also to every public-sector worker in the country?
It's Supreme Court decision season, and one case to watch for is Harris v. Quinn, in which the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is seeking essentially to overturn union rights for home care workers. The question, as is so often the case, is whether the Supreme Court will uphold the status quo or overturn years of precedent and undermine unions and worker organizing. Labor scholar John Logan sums up the key questions:
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