US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Statement on Supreme Court Ruling in Harris v. Quinn

Monday, June 30, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released the following statement today following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Harris v. Quinn.

“Since 1977, public sector workers who receive strong wages and safer working conditions from collectively bargained contracts have been asked to contribute their fair share in exchange for the benefits they receive from union representation.  They do not have to fund a union’s political activities. Non-union workers who benefit from a union, however, cannot free ride on the backs of other workers without helping to cover the costs of collective bargaining. 

“Though the court correctly declined to depart from well-settled law and directly contradict the precedent set in Abood, today’s ruling is disappointing nonetheless because the Court refused to extend Abood’s basic principle of fairness to the personal care providers in this case.

“The workers and people that they care for affected by this ruling have already seen vast improvements because of their association with a union.  A contract gives workers better wages and working conditions, provides a stable workforce to provide quality care to our families, friends, and neighbors, and is good for our country’s economy. Though today’s ruling did not overturn settled law, it will make it needlessly harder for our country to reap the benefits that flow from an organized, democratic workplace.”

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