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Unions Fighting Back Against Supreme Court Ruling Involving In-Home Care Workers

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Public employees unions are battling back against a Supreme Court ruling that chips away at their powers to collect fees from some state workers.

Loretta Jackson is an in-home care worker in Sacramento who takes care of her sister who suffered an aneurysm and a stroke in 1999.

To take care of her 24 hours a day, the state pays Jackson through its in-home care supportive services program.

As a state employee, she automatically pays fees to a public employees union. But a Supreme Court decision is putting union leaders on the defensive.

McGeorge Law professor John Sims says the ruling has strong legal language.

“It failed to appreciate, it doesnt seem to have anticipated, it didn’t foresee—in other words it’s just wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong,” he said.

The ruling means, at least in Illinois for now, care workers will no longer be forced to pay dues.

“That at least this type of worker, the in-home workers who are paid by the state, who have kind of a hybrid status in that they’re paid by the state, but they’re not traditional employees, that they don’t have to pay,” Sims said.

The Service Employees International Union in California issued a statement: “Over the last 15 years, hundreds of thousands of caregivers have joined together in unions, and in so doing have stabilized and professionalized a vital state program.”

Jackson says shes pays $30 a month in dues, and no ruling would say her from paying the dues she calls well worth it.

“I am so glad that I am in a union, because for years home care has been cut,” she said.

The Supreme Court ruling was handed down following a class-action lawsuit filed by in-home care workers in Illinois against the SEIU.

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