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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Government should not force people into unions

By George Will



JewishWorldReview.com | The Democratic Party is the party of government because it embraces a proposition it has done much to refute — that government is a nimble, skillful social engineer — and because government employees are a significant component of the party’s base and of its financial support through government employees unions. Franklin Roosevelt, architect of the modern party, believed unionization would be inappropriate in the public sector. Today’s party, however, aggressively uses government coercion to create supposed “government employees” from whom unions can extract money, some of it for the party.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear arguments about whether the Illinois government’s policy of herding home-care workers into unions violates the workers’ First Amendment rights. It does.

Because organized labor’s presence in the private sector has shriveled from about 35 percent of the workforce in the 1950s to 6.6 percent today, public-sector employees are labor’s oxygen. In Democratic-controlled Illinois, the relationship between the party and organized labor is, to say no more, mutually congenial. So the government declared that providers of home care — including family members — for the elderly and others are government employees because their compensation comes from Medicaid and because they participate in a state government program and are subject to state regulation.



In 2003, Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, of fragrant memory, decreed that thousands of home-care workers were public employees and ordered recognition of whatever union thousands of caregivers would choose, which was the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). In 2009, the current Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, designated even more home caregivers as public employees, making them targets for “card-check” unionization drives. In this process for Illinois government employees, when a majority signs the cards, a unionization election has occurred.

The state government gave the SEIU and a rival union the names and addresses of all the freshly minted government employees. Pam Harris, who is suing to get Illinois’s system declared unconstitutional, gets a modest stipend from Medicaid to support her care for her disabled son. She remembers a young SEIU employee coming to her door to say just sign the card “so my boss knows I spoke to you.” A majority of caregivers in one Illinois program chose the SEIU.

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Illinois’s scheme is a trifecta of constitutional violations. It violates the right of free association of those who are coerced into a fees-paying relationship with unions — a right that, the Supreme Court has held, “plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate.” Not to associate, for example, with groups whose expressive activities are offensive to those who are coerced into joining the groups. Second, those coerced into unions are compelled to subsidize with their dues union speech with which they may strenuously disagree. Third, after being transformed by government fiat into government employees, they are denied the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances in their own voices, having been forced to allow a union to petition for them.

An amicus brief supporting Harris notes that “the state of Illinois has no cognizable interest in maintaining ‘labor peace’ among household workers or family members merely because they provide services to individuals who participate in a state program or because they are subject to state regulation.” “Labor peace” is the reason unionization is supposedly a legitimate state interest — sufficiently compelling, in certain circumstances, to allow states to compromise First Amendment protections.

“Labor peace” was an important interest when it entered labor law in 1917 in connection with a national railroad strike that might have seriously disrupted interstate commerce in wartime. But how could people providing home care — including parents such as Pam Harris — threaten labor peace? Caregivers do not work together in a factory or office. And they certainly do not threaten the flow of interstate commerce.

They actually are employees not of the government but of the care recipients, who hire the caregivers and determine working hours and conditions. So what is the point of a union in these circumstances? Enriching the union is the point.

Illinois’s system resembles that in some other states. Until Republicans repealed Michigan’s arrangements, the SEIU extracted more than $34 million from tens of thousands of caregivers. Patently, the purpose of such systems is to enable unions to siphon away, in dues, a portion of caregivers’ pay, some of which becomes campaign contributions for the political party that created the system. The court is unlikely to think the First Amendment should be diluted to accommodate this.

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