Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - July 20, 2018.  


Trump now wants Putin to visit the White House this fall; Also on the Friday rundown: health insurance rates to rise by almost 9 percent in California; and as the climate crises reaches “Zero Hour” young people take a stand.

Daily Newscasts

SCOTUS Decision Could Affect Women's Workplace Rights

PHOTO: Inside the Supreme Court building, the justices are looking at a case union officials say could be of vital importance to vulnerable women workers. Photo by Franz Jantzen, courtesy Supreme Court of the United States
PHOTO: Inside the Supreme Court building, the justices are looking at a case union officials say could be of vital importance to vulnerable women workers. Photo by Franz Jantzen, courtesy Supreme Court of the United States
June 11, 2014

ST,. PAUL, Minn. - A soon-to-be-decided Supreme Court case could set back some of the nation's most vulnerable workers, union officials say.

Harris vs. Quinn could stop home-care workers and child-care providers from joining public-sector unions that automatically include employees in paying dues and enjoying contract benefits.

Millions of women who help people raise children and care for aging parents deserve the ability to join a union and make progress on issues such as pay equity, said Jennifer Munt, spokeswoman for the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

"A ruling undermining unions in the Harris case would bring that progress to a halt," she said. "The question now is whether the Supreme Court will side with hard-working women or put the judicial 'seal of approval' on income inequality."

In the Harris case, an anti-union group has argued that some Illinois caregivers should not have to automatically pay union dues.

Under current "agency shop" rules, a public-sector union has to cover everyone in the workplace under its contract - but also gets to automatically collect the dues needed to keep that contract in place. Without that provision, Munt said, employees could become "free riders" on the union's work - which she predicted would weaken the unions and, ultimately, other workplace protections.

"When women join unions, we gain a voice on the job," she said. "Many of these jobs pay too little, and they don't provide women with a path out of poverty so they can support their own families."

Munt said nearly 60 percent of women would make more if they were paid the same as men, and the overall poverty rate would be cut in half as a result. She said she believes union representation is key for that to happen.

"Public-sector unions have shown," she said, "that if women enjoy collective-bargaining rights and have a strong voice in the workplace, the inequalities of the past begin to fade away."

The justices are expected to announce their decision by the end of June, possibly as soon as this week.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - MN