A childcare provider fighting forced unionism in the U.S. Court of Appeals detailed Tuesday why she believes a related U.S. Supreme Court challenge will delay a decision in her case.
Kathleen D’Agostino and eight other childcare providers challenged a state law that requires them to accept union representation. They argued their position Jan. 5 before the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. D’Agostino, however, notes it’s likely a decision will be delayed because of a related case already at the highest court. The Supreme Court heard arguments Monday on why California teachers shouldn’t have to fund union activities.
“We probably won’t have a decision in our case until after that case,” D’Agostino told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The court doesn’t like to reverse decisions, obviously.”
The Supreme Court case could overturn 40 years of established labor law. Rebecca Friedrichs and the nine other teachers involved claim compulsory union payments violate their constitutional right to free speech. They note the union has engaged in activities and has taken positions they neither support nor wish to fund. D’Agostino and her lawyer determined it’s likely the appeals court will wait so its decision doesn’t conflict with what the Supreme Court decides.
A decision in favor of Friedrichs could also subject countless more cases from the last four decades to relitigation. Teachers are technically public-sector employees so a decision in favor of Friedrichs could set a precedent for all government workers. The National Right to Work Foundation (NRTW) is helping to represent the childcare providers. The foundation advocates for worker choice policies. It is also supporting Friedrichs and the other California teachers.
D’Agostino and her fellow childcare providers started their legal fight in 2012. At the time they lobbied the state legislature to not require them to join or fund the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Eventually they decided to file a lawsuit.
“Our case was two parts,” D’Agostino recalled. “The first part of our case was challenging them on collecting dues. The second part challenged exclusive representation.”
A similar case compelled Massachusetts to settle with the childcare providers and not require compulsory dues. The Supreme Court ruled in the 2014 case Harris v. Quinn that Illinois home healthcare providers were not state workers and therefore could not be forced to pay union dues as one collective unit. D’Agostino is continuing the fight because the law still requires that childcare providers be represented by the SEIU even if they don’t have to pay union dues.
“The first part was settled because of Harris,” D’Agostino continued. “We are continuing our challenge against exclusive representation.”
A union simply has to be voted in as the exclusive representative for a workplace before it has the legal ability to speak on behalf of all the workers. D’Agostino was successful in ending mandatory union dues but the SEIU still represents her, which she opposes.
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