Harris vs. Quinn: Attacks Will Only Prove to Strengthen Resolve in California


The slim approval for Harris vs. Quinn (5-4), divided along partisan lines, is no match for the strengthened resolve of California care workers.  The decision comes after many attacks on unions, funded by billionaire Koch brothers and the Walton family through the anti-worker National Right to Work Foundation. The organization funded and recruited the individuals who testified in the their refusal to pay for union services they did not agree with, even though, time and again, unions have been shown to benefit all workers. [1] See this briefing from the Economic Policy Institute.

In the case of home care workers, a profession with notably high turnover, low wages, and nonexistent benefits, unionization in the last 10 years has contributed to a doubling of wages (from $7 to $13 an hour), training and supervision, standardization of qualifications, and health insurance for workers.  Retention has greatly increased, with a savings of $632 million for the state of Illinois. [2]

In California, the In-Home Supportive Services program serves more than 450,000 people, saving the state billions, and many workers have spoken out on the numerous benefits they receive.

“This is an area of healthcare where the union has changed everything,” said Editha Adams, a home care worker in San Diego County. “The union has helped unite caregivers and consumers, which has enabled us to raise the quality of care, dramatically lower turnover, and help many more people stay in their homes.”

“We stand with caregivers in Illinois. But here in California, today’s decision only strengthens our resolve to stand together and keep improving and protecting home care,” said Brenda Jackson, a caregiver from Alameda County.


With the loosely veiled Right to Work agenda attempting to attack the power of worker’s voices and right to fair living wages and a secure job, it is clear they are looking for sympathy from the courts. The video below highlights how attacks on unions have contributed to a record high disparity in income.

Mary Kay Henry, President of SEIU, does not see this marginal blow as a threat and instead calls us all to stand together in defending our right to fight for improving our lives through our collective voice.

No court case is going to stand in the way of home care workers coming together to have a strong voice for good jobs and quality home care […] At a time when wages remain stagnant and income inequality is out of control, joining together in a union is the only proven way home care workers have of improving their lives and the lives of the people they care for.” [4]

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