Court debates union fees for nonunion workers

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will decide whether making nonunion home health care workers in Illinois pay “fair-share” union fees is an unconstitutional violation of their First Amendment rights. The case could have major implications for public service unions.

The justices heard arguments Tuesday from lawyers for Illinois homecare personal assistants who don’t want to be affiliated with a union. In Illinois, nonunion home health care workers have to pay “fair share fees” to compensate the union for its work for all of the workers. Those workers sued, saying that the fees violate the First Amendment by compelling them to associate with the union.

Lower courts have thrown out the lawsuit. If the high court agrees it would make it more difficult for unions to collect money for their work.

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