The greed and avarice of public employee union leadership and their Democratic Party beneficiaries was struck down in a 5-4 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in Harris v. Quinn.


Somewhat incredibly, the public employee unions and Illinois legislators thought it was a good idea to declare parents, brothers, sisters and children who care for relatives who receive disability payments part of a dues-paying public employee caregiver union. The reason: The union wanted and received automatic deductions out of these caregivers' Medicaid payments, taking money directly away from the most vulnerable in society to feed their political war chests.

The home caregivers were not given any choice of whether to join; they just received less money with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) taking their cut off the top, conveniently deducted for them by the state of Illinois.

Neil Romano, a former assistant secretary of Labor for disability employment policy, called the state-abetted, union theft of funds "[a]n unconscionable breach of the public trust that an organization, any organization, should be allowed to reach into the pockets of people and families with disabilities who more often than not are grappling with difficult financial situations."

The Supreme Court agreed and in the Harris v. Quinn case stripped away this political power play to transfer public funds directly into public employee union coffers. From those union coffers, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to elect Democratic legislators who can begin the whole cycle again.

It is this egregious abuse of disability caregivers that brought Harris v. Quinn in front of the Supreme Court, but there is the larger issue of whether public employee unions should be able to compel civil servants to pay dues that had the union brass and the Democratic Party machine that depends upon their more than $100 million in contributions each cycle in a tizzy.

As The Huffington Post noted today, "There's a reason labor unions combat right-to-work laws so doggedly in states across the country: When given the choice to stop supporting the union, many workers do so."

Unfortunately, the court decided to fall short of striking down the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education decision that allows public employees to be compelled to pay dues to a union. However, the good news in the decision is that the justices left the door open for a future challenge in the decision and even provided the legal breadcrumbs needed to end compulsory public employee union membership.

But, today the court stood up for the forgotten, those who take care of their loved ones who cannot take care of themselves. Today, the little guy won, and all of America should celebrate.

Manning (@rmanning957) is vice president of public policy and communications for Americans for Limited Government. Contact him at