Ohio Education Association Statement Regarding Harris V. Quinn U.S Supreme Court Decision

COLUMBUS – June 30, 2014 –  Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a narrow decision on Harris v. Quinn when it eliminated fair share fee arrangements for Illinois home healthcare workers.

The following statement can be attributed to OEA President, Becky Higgins:

“The suggestion by commentators that public employee unions dodged a harsher ruling should not cause us to lose sight of who brought this case and what their agenda remains. The so-called “Right to Work” alliance is still intent on diminishing, if not eliminating, the rights of working people. And they have their sights set on Ohio.

“So-called “Right-to-Work” is confusing, complicated and controversial.  “Right-to-Work” isn’t what it seems. It’s wrong for educators, working people and for the middle class. It is just another attempt by CEO’s and corporate interests to limit your freedom at work and end unions so they can tip the balance more in their favor at the expense of working people and the middle class.  So-called “Right-to-Work” would silence the voice of educators, who are the best advocates for stronger public schools, better services for Ohio’s students and adequate resources in the classroom.”

From the National Education Association’s Office of General Counsel:

This morning the Supreme Court issued its decision in Harris v. Quinn, which raised the question of whether an Illinois statute that permitted home health care workers to organize and pay a fee for their representation to the union selected to represent them, violated the First Amendment. In a decision issued by Justice Alito and joined by the four other conservative Justices on the Supreme Court, the Court held that the statute did violate the First Amendment. In so doing, the majority extensively criticized the doctrinal foundation of Abood, the 1977 decision allowing the collection of agency fees in the public sector, and concluded as follows: “Because of Abood’s questionable foundations, and because the personal assistants are quite different from full-fledged public employees, we refuse to extend Abood to the new situation now before us.”

Today’s decision is a significant blow to SEIU and places in jeopardy efforts to create effective new statutory frameworks for organizing home health care workers and child care workers. It will also fuel significant litigation attacking Abood agency fee arrangements. But as of today, those arrangements – which include all of the agency fee arrangements used by NEA and its affiliates – survive. NEA OGC will have a full analysis of today’s decision a little later today.


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The Ohio Education Association (ohea.org) represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.


CONTACT: Michele Prater
614-227-3071; cell 614-378-0469, praterm@ohea.org


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