The Supreme Court ruled against a union that had collected fees from workers who were not members but nevertheless benefited from better pay and working conditions that the union negotiated. The case decided on Monday involved home-care workers in Illinois whose hourly wages rose from $7 in 2003 to $13 in 2014. The workers also received health insurance paid for by the state and other benefits. The state and taxpayers benefited by paying less for home care than it would have cost to put people in expensive institutional care.
Sen. Bernie Sanders called the court decision “another attack on the rights of workers to collectively bargain for higher wages and decent benefits.” The decision by Justice Samuel Alito Jr., and four other extreme right-wing Republicans “is another attack on the rights of workers to collectively bargain for higher wages and decent benefits.” It could have been worse, Sanders noted. The ruling did not go as far as some worker advocates had feared so other public-sector employees may still have an effective voice at the bargaining table.
Supreme Court analyst Jeffrey Toobin warned that it still could get worse. Writing for The New Yorker, Toobin said the conservative court has a pattern of first deciding a case in a “narrow” way but then using a decision as a precedent to move the law in a more dramatic, conservative direction in a subsequent case.