- Can a State compel in-home caregivers to financially support a union to be their exclusive representative for collective-bargaining purposes?
- Since the State has failed thus far to designate a union to be a particular group’s representative, do individuals falling within that group have standing to bring their claim?
Under Illinois law, caregivers who provide in-home assistance to disabled individuals through certain Medicaid-waiver programs may be compelled to support a private organization to be their exclusive representative for collective-bargaining purposes. According to Illinois, the purpose of the mandate is to prevent inter-union rivalries that might hinder collective-bargaining negotiations and to prevent non-union members from “free-riding” off union members. In this case, the Supreme Court will consider whether compelled support for exclusive representation in this specific context violates the Constitution. Petitioners argue that forcing in-home service providers to unionize infringes upon their First Amendments rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of association. Respondents counter that the Supreme Court’s precedent allows the government to force public workers to unionize when there is a compelling government interest for doing so. However, the fact that the Supreme Court has granted certiorari on such a narrow issue has many commentators speculating that the Court may be intending to decide much more than is immediately apparent, including decisions that may have drastic consequences for the very future of labor unions.
- May a State, consistent with the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, compel personal care providers to accept and financially support a private organization as their exclusive representative to petition the State for greater reimbursements from its Medicaid programs?
- Did the lower court err in holding that the claims of providers in the Home Based Support Services Program are not ripe for judicial review?
Petitioners in this case are individuals who provide in-home assistance to disabled persons in Illinois. Harris v. Quinn, 656 F.3d 692, 694 (7th Cir. 2011). Some of the petitioners operate under Illinois’s Home Services Program (“Rehabilitation Program”) while the rest operate under Illinois’s Home-Based Services Program (“Disabilities Program”).