Seven years ago, Gov. Martin O’Malley by executive decree ordered the unionization of state-subsidized home health carers and child carers in Maryland, even though the General Assembly had refused to enact legislation to do that. Maryland is now one of about a dozen states to herd home health carers into unions, an enormous dues bonanza for unions that include the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a major source of political support for O’Malley’s Democratic Party.
In June the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Harris v. Quinn that it is a violation of home health carers’ First Amendment rights to force them to pay dues for representation they may not want or welcome. (It applied this analysis to the category of “partial public employees” like the home carers who may have some characteristics of public employees but lack many others.) Since then, advocates at the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation have sought to make sure states and unions comply with the decision by ceasing the collection of mandatory dues. They have already gotten pledges of compliance in Illinois (where the Harris case arose), Minnesota, and Massachusetts.
Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration needs to make clear immediately that it intends to comply with the Supreme Court decision and will not attempt to prolong the unlawful mandatory collection of dues. This would also make a good time for O’Malley to apologize for railroading through an executive order that led to the violation of the constitutional rights of thousands of Marylanders, and an even better time for him to revoke the executive order. If he declines to do so, the next governor should revoke it.