Local day care owner part of class-action suit

By Gary Scott on October 7, 2015 at 1:06pm

A Jacksonville woman is one of the people bringing on a federal lawsuit seeking a refund for home day care workers in Illinois.

The workers want millions of dollars in past payments, spelled out in recently-filed litigation that follows a U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned a state requirement for non-union home health workers to pay “fair share” union fees.

The class-action lawsuit was brought by home day care owner Sandy Winner of Jacksonville, as well as Laura Baston of Casey.

According to the Associated Press, the suit names Governor Bruce Rauner and the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois & Indiana as defendants.

The lawsuit says Illinois should repay what the conservative Illinois Policy Institute estimates was as much as $10 million in annual withholding of “agency fees” that were deducted from reimbursements for private contractors who cared for low-income children eligible to receive state support.

The fees, which are not supposed to be used for political activity, had been collected since 2005 under an executive order by former Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June 2014 that the union dues, which cover the costs of contract negotiations and grievance disputes, could not be collected from people who provided in-home care for people with disabilities who didn’t want to join the state employees union.

Soon after, the administration of Gov. Pat Quinn, a Democrat and Rauner’s predecessor, stopped collecting the fees from child care providers — at the policy institute’s request.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments later this year in a similar case brought by California teachers challenging a state requirement that nonunion members pay fair share fees.