State officials are reviewing a Supreme Court decision released Monday that limits the ability of unions to collect dues from home health care workers who do not wish to be affiliated with a union.
“We are still reviewing the details of the decision, but we are disappointed with the outcome.” said Gov. Martin J. O’Malley in an emailed statement.
In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that an Illinois law requiring personal assistants who objected to joining a union to pay union dues was a violation of the First Amendment rights of those workers. The court appeared to draw the line at workers who were independent contractors who did not receive the same state benefits that full-fledged state employees receive.
Union officials in Maryland also said they were reviewing the decision but were expecting to see some impact to some health care workers in Maryland.
“Maryland has derived enormous benefit from our homecare system, which includes collective bargaining. Our system enables the State to accomplish important goals—like ensuring an adequate and well-trained homecare workforce—and exclusive representation and fair-share fees play an important role in a fair and effective collective bargaining system,” O’Malley said in his statement. ”As we continue reviewing the decision, we will consider what, if any, changes will be required for Maryland’s system of collective bargaining. Our system has worked well for home health workers, patients, and taxpayers—so we will try to keep it as much intact as is possible. ”