Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

July 2, 2014

Court decision has far-reaching results

Pam Harris is just a Lake County mom looking after her disabled adult son.

She’s not a particularly political person.

But on Monday, she shook the very foundations of labor law in the United States when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in her favor.

Her case speaks volumes about the power of an ordinary person to make a difference in our society.

In a state as cynical as Illinois, it’s easy to pooh poo folks like Harris.

After all, how much of a difference can one person really make when taking on the political establishment?

Well, in Harris’ case, quite a lot.

At issue was whether she should be forced to join a union.

Rather than place her son, Josh, in an institution, she entered a program where she receives state assistance to care for him at home.

But one Sunday morning, an organizer for Service Employees International Union knocked on her front door and asked her to vote to join a union.

At first she was perplexed. She’s not a state worker. She’s just a mom, doing what moms do: caring for her child.

And SEIU is one of the largest, politically powerful labor organizations in the nation.

But if a majority of home care workers voted to join the union, she would have to give money to the union — whether she wanted to belong or not.

Harris stood up to the union and helped defeat it in a vote.

But she knew that wasn’t the end of the story. The union could just keep coming back and calling for more votes.

And Pam Harris didn’t think she should have to give money to some union boss in order to care for her son.

So Harris sued the state, which had helped facilitate the union’s organization attempts.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Why Obama shouldn't go to Ferguson On Monday, ABC’s Ann Compton asked President Barack Obama whether he would visit Ferguson, Missouri, amid the continued unrest. Obama didn’t give a firm answer, but he did suggest it’s probably not a good idea.“When they’re conducting an investigatio

    August 20, 2014

  • Food stamps' $80B secret spending program Imagine a government program that has exploded in size, is the subject of bitter partisan haggling and spends almost $80 billion a year in secret.No, not the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency or the Department of Homeland Secu

    August 20, 2014

  • Vouchers provide greater choice I was chatting the other day with a fellow who, along with his wife, homeschool his children. We joked about the stereotype: Moms in denim skirts.But then he expounded on the benefits his youngsters have derived from being taught at home: a customize

    August 20, 2014

  • A rare experience Alexandra Petri’s editorial, “What exactly are we seeing in Ferguson” is well written and did something which has increasingly become a rare experience for me. Her article caused me to think!Petri makes the case for media coverage of American events,

    August 19, 2014

  • Naive? Simple? I will admit outright that I may be a little naïve and tend to look at things through a simple prism. I received a suggestion for a column with an accompanying article written by By Reed Abelson and Eric Lichtblau concerning the failure of our govern

    August 19, 2014

  • Don't pass 'coup clause' with a security waiver It is a sad reality that national security waivers often render human rights laws moot, inviting the government to overuse the loophole to accommodate immediate needs. The “coup clause,” which mandates foreign aid suspension to countries after a mili

    August 19, 2014

  • Clinton could end up like Gore Although we’re all still sort of pretending that it remains to be seen whether Hillary Clinton will run for president in 2016, she recently gave the most definitive confirmation she has to date of her impending candidacy. No, she didn’t say the words

    August 16, 2014

  • Guru will work for food ‘At the height of its power, the photography company Kodak employed more than 140,000 people and was worth $28 billion dollars. They even invented the first digital camera. But today Kodak is bankrupt, and the new face of digital photography has beco

    August 16, 2014

  • Ferguson police fumbled protests From the chief of the police department to the president of the United States, government officials on Thursday promised a different approach to the racially-charged unrest in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. But the situation demands a lot more tha

    August 16, 2014

  • A better tax code solution: taxing consumption According to much conventional wisdom, the flap over corporate “tax inversions” is just the latest evidence that the tax code needs a comprehensive overhaul like the one agreed to by congressional leaders and President Reagan in 1986.Whether you cons

    August 15, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks