Gov. Quinn faces class-action suit by home-care providers

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

CHICAGO (April 22, 2010) -- With free legal aid from National Right to Work Foundation attorneys, a group of home-based personal care providers filed a class-action lawsuit Thursday in federal court against Governor Pat Quinn and union officials for their efforts to force Illinois personal care providers under unwanted union boss control.

The suit stems from an executive order issued by disgraced former- Governor Rod Blagojevich shortly after his election, later codified, in which over 20,000 personal care providers who care for individuals with disabilities were designated as "public employees" of the state of Illinois for the purpose of granting Service Employees International Union (SEIU) bosses monopoly "representation" and forced dues privileges over them.

Following the Rod Blagojevich blueprint of forced unionism, Quinn signed an executive order last June that made an additional 4,500 home-based personal care providers susceptible to unwanted union boss bargaining and political "representation." Not coincidentally, Quinn received the SEIU union bosses' political endorsement and support during his recent closely-contested primary campaign for the Democratic nomination for Governor.

The additional 4,500 home-care providers who are not yet under union control soundly rejected union membership by two-to-one margin in mail-in vote. However, per Quinn's executive order, the home-care providers may again be subject to out-of-state SEIU and American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union organizers making "home visits" attempting to organize the home-care providers through coercive "card check" unionization tactics.

Pam Harris, Gordon Stiefel, and several other home-care providers - with assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation - filed the federal suit on behalf of all of Illinois' providers unionized by Blagojevich and on behalf of home-care providers threatened by forced unionism as a result of Quinn's executive order.

"My primary concern is that someone else will be telling me how to best care for my son," said Harris, who provides personal care for her adult son and is the lead plaintiff in the suit. "Union dues would be a deduction from what we have available to provide for my son's needs. And then I would be giving my money to a union to exercise their political muscle on issues I vehemently disagree with."

The class-action challenges the forced-unionism scheme on the grounds that it violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of free political expression and association.

"This scheme is nothing more than pure political payback" said Patrick Semmens, Legal Information Director of the National Right to Work Foundation. "In effect, Governor Quinn is picking the lobbyists of Illinois' personal care providers, all in exchange for the union bosses' support and political contributions."

The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation is a nonprofit, charitable organization providing free legal aid to employees whose human or civil rights have been violated by compulsory unionism abuses. The foundation, which can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-336-3600, is assisting thousands of employees in over 200 cases nationwide. Its web address is www.nrtw.org.