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Business and Economy

Maine Union Official: Court's 'Fair Share' Ruling's Impact Limited

The head of the Maine State Employees Association says she's disappointed, but not surprised, by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibits an Illinois union from collecting "fair-share" union fees from part-time, home health care aides.  

Maine is one of 26 states that require all public employees who are represented by unions to pay similar dues, whether they officially join or not.  

But Ginette Rivard of the MSEA says the high court's ruling in Harris v. Quinn  will not affect health care workers in Maine because it narrowly applied only to home health aides who work for themselves.  In Maine, Rivard says unionized health care workers have a different arrangement.

"They work for an agency and we have a contract with the agency, a collective bargaining agreement between MSEA and their employer," Rivard says, "and we do not have 'fair share' with those units."

Still, Rivard says the ruling is a setback for organized labor, which she says has been under attack for several years.