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Anti-Union Group Sues State, SEIU & AFSCME

CHICAGO (CN) - Illinois violated home-care providers' constitutional rights by making them join a union, 10 workers say in a federal class action. They sued Gov. Pat Quinn, the SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, its Local 73 and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31.

The plaintiffs say they are not employed by the state, but by the people they serve.

State programs subsidize home-care patients through semi-monthly payments to their providers, based on the minimum wage.

The class claims the unions have taken $3.6 million, and possibly double that amount, by deducting payments to the health care providers. In return, they say, the unions provide political support for Quinn.

"Defendants are compelling personal assistants to financially support SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana and its affiliates as their state-designated representative for purposes of speaking to, petitioning, and otherwise lobbying the state and its officials with respect to limited aspects of the rehabilitation program," the complaint states.

"No compelling or otherwise sufficient government interest justifies the compulsory political representation imposed upon personal assistants."

The class consists of all home-care providers who have had union dues deducted from their compensation for state programs.

It seeks declaratory judgment on constitutional claims, and damages.

The class is represented by William Messenger with the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation of Springfield, Va.

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