January 21 2014

Should a Mother Be Forced to Join a Union for Taking Care of a Disabled Son?

Charlotte Hays

Pamela Harris, 55, takes care of a disabled son at home and earns less than the minimum wage. So, naturally, the union wants a cut of her earnings in the form of union dues. Ms. Harris is fighting this:

“I don’t want to be the face and name associated with anti-union campaign, but this is at its heart a mother doing what she thinks is right for her son,” she told the Washington Free Beacon. “I don’t see this as a union issue, but the current administration in Illinois has an unhealthy relationship with public sector unions. We got swept up in that.”.

She has filed a suit that will be heard before the Supreme Court. Oral arguments are today. At issue is an Illinois state law crafted to enrich and empower the unions that declares that anybody who receives Medicaid is a state employ and therefore must belong to the public sector union.

Ms. Harris’ son, Josh, suffers from Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, which includes moderate to severe learning handicaps and short stature, and other physical and mental disabilities. The Chicago ABC affiliate covered the story:

In January 2009, Governor Quinn signed an executive stating these home care givers-- even moms and dads-- are public employees available to be unionized by Illinois' Service Employees International. Those who didn't want to join the union would still have to pay for representation. "What we are talking about is unionizing family members, parents in a home. For me, that is inconsistent and intrusive and will interfere with Josh's care," said Pam Harris.

She and other disability program members voted the union down and sued Quinn in a class-action lawsuit that will be heard at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. If the court rules Quinn was wrong in declaring home-care providers public employees, unions could lose several hundred thousand members across the country.

The story also quotes a mother who is a union officer and who cares for a disabled 47-year-old son, who says that membership in the union would give parents such as Ms. Harris more clout. But here’s the thing, Ms. Harris doesn’t want to belong to a union, obviously doesn’t regard it as helpful, and, moreover, is not a state employee—except by the stretch required to make her one so the union can pick her pockets.

You want to know what Ms. Harris cares about?

"Every night I pray please God, let me live one more day than Josh," said Pam Harris, Josh's mother and caretaker.

Let’s hope that the Supreme Court will make a ruling that relieves her of undue government and union intrusion into her life.  

 

Hot Air also has a good piece on the Harris suit.

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