2014-06-30T141454Z_1_LYNXMPEA5T0JL_RTROPTP_2_USA

U.S. top court lets some public employees avoid union dues

Two men talk as the sun rises over the Supreme Court in WashingtonBy Amanda Becker and Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court dealt unions a setback Monday by ruling that state-paid, in-home care workers in Illinois cannot be compelled to pay union dues, but stopped short of blocking organized labor from collecting such fees from other public employees. In a narrowly crafted 5-4 ruling written by conservative Justice Samuel Alito, the court said plaintiff Pamela Harris and others who provide in-home care for family members and others with disabilities are “partial” or “quasi” public employees and cannot be forced to financially support a public employees union. The court did not, as the plaintiffs asked and unions feared, overturn its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. In that case, the high court affirmed that collective bargaining agreements can require public-sector employees to pay the portion of union dues not spent on political activities.

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