Supreme Court Decision Could Hurt State's Health Care Unions

June 28, 2018

by Crain's Health Pulse

A U.S. Supreme Court decision Wednesday prohibiting public-sector unions from charging nonmembers "fair share" fees for representing the workers in collective bargaining could weaken New York's health care unions.

Studies conducted before the 5-4 verdict in Janus v. AFSCME predicted that a decision against the union could result in a decline in membership as workers could receive representation without paying union dues, SCOTUS Blog reported.

NYC Health + Hospitals is the sixth-largest employer of union workers statewide, with District Council 37 and 1199SEIU among the largest represented there.

"Today's decision is appallingly out of sync with both public sentiment and the difficult times now faced by working families," DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said in a statement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo sought to protect unions from the Supreme Court's potentially adverse decision with legislation in April. A provision in this year's budget allows public-sector unions to refuse to represent nonunion employees in grievance hearings. Public employers must also notify unions of new employees within 30 days of their start date.

"While the federal government tries to take labor backward, we are moving forward with our historic pro-labor agenda," Cuomo wrote in an op-ed in the Daily News published after the decision was announced.