Harris v. Quinn: Supreme Court Closer to End of Compulsory Union Dues

The Supreme Court’s June decision in Harris v. Quinn was good news for Friedrichs v. CTA, CIR’s challenge to compulsory union dues.  In Harris, the Supreme Court struck down an Illinois statute that required home healthcare workers to join and pay dues to a designated union. Writing for the 5-4 majority, Justice Alito said that the home healthcare workers at issue in the case are not true government employees. Therefore, the majority concluded, they fall outside Supreme Court precedent allowing states to compel union membership by public employees. Justice Alito went on to suggest that the precedent itself, Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Educ., hangs by a thread because compelled union dues violate the free speech and association rights of individual employees.  The outcome in Harris suggests that CIR’s case challenging compulsory union dues, Friedrichs v. CTA, could produce a landmark decision striking down compulsory union dues nationwide for all government employees, not just home healthcare workers.