HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A U.S. Supreme Court ruling that Illinois home health care workers cannot be required to pay union fees that help cover the cost of collective bargaining is unlikely to affect their Pennsylvania counterparts, two union leaders said Monday.
The narrowly focused 5-4 ruling involves 26,000 union-represented workers who are paid with Medicaid funds to provide home care for disabled or elderly customers. Workers who sued said they shouldn't have to pay fees to a group that takes positions with which they disagree.
The state has 20,000 to 30,000 workers who are employed by consumers and paid with Medicaid dollars but aren't affected because they don't belong to unions, said Neal Bisno, president of SEIU Health Care Pennsylvania. About 5,000 other care workers are employed by private agencies, which weren't covered by the ruling.
Henry Nicholas, president of AFSCME District 1199C in Philadelphia, called the ruling "an indication (of) where the right wing court is headed" in labor relations.
"We see it as a warning," he said. "They're coming to get us, and we have to run fast enough to make sure they don't catch us."