Hill v. Service Employees International Union, No. 16-2327 (7th Cir. 2017)Annotate this Case
Illinois’ Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) subsidizes childcare services for low-income and at-risk families. The program pays about 60,000 childcare providers. The Home Services Program (HSP) pays about 25,000 “personal assistants” who help “customers” with basic living needs. The Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (IPLRA) generally allows public employees in a bargaining unit to choose, by majority vote, an exclusive bargaining representative to negotiate with the state over employment terms. A majority of both HSP and CCAP providers chose SEIU as their exclusive bargaining representative, but the providers are under no obligation to join SEIU or pay dues. SEIU cannot discriminate against a provider because of membership or lack thereof, so providers are able to present their own grievances to the state, publicly oppose the SEIU, and associate with whomever they want, without retaliation from the union. Providers sued the SEIU and Illinois officials under 42 U.S.C. 1983, claiming that the IPLRA violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments because the statute forces them into an agency-like association with SEIU. The district court dismissed. The Seventh Circuit affirmed. IPLRA’s authorization of a majority-elected exclusive bargaining representative does not compel an association that triggers heightened First Amendment scrutiny; the law survives rational basis analysis.