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Hill v. Service Employees International Union, Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 9, 2017

Rebecca Hill, et al, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
Service Employees International Union, Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, et al, Defendants-Appellees.

          Argued December 7, 2016

         Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 15 CV 10175 - Manish S. Shah, Judge.

          Before Bauer and Flaum, Circuit Judges, and Shadid, District Judge. [*]

          Flaum, Circuit Judge.

Appellants, home healthcare and childcare providers, challenge the exclusive-bargaining-representative provisions of the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act, 5Ill.Comp.Stat. 315/1 et seq. ("IPLRA"). Appellants argue that the statutory scheme violates their First Amendment associational rights. The district court dismissed their complaint for failing to state a claim. We affirm.

         I. Background

         Appellants provide home-based personal care and child-care services under various programs administered by Illinois agencies. The Home Services Program ("HSP"), 20Ill.Comp.Stat. 2405/3(f), pays about 25, 000 "personal assistants" who help "customers" with basic living needs. The customers are responsible for hiring and supervising the personal assistants, and the State of Illinois pays the assistants. See generally Harris v. Quinn, - U.S. -, 134 S.Ct. 2618, 2623-25 (2014). Illinois' Child Care Assistance Program ("CCAP"), 305Ill.Comp.Stat. 5/9A-11, subsidizes childcare services for low-income and at-risk families. Parents choose their own providers and contribute to the cost if financially able. The program pays about 60, 000 childcare providers. We refer collectively to the people working under these programs as "providers."

         The 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. See 5 Ill.Comp.Stat. 315/3(f); id. 315/9(a-5).[1]

          A majority of both HSP and CCAP providers chose defendant-appellee Service Employees International Union ("SEIU") as their exclusive bargaining representative. Though the SEIU bargains with Illinois over key employment terms for the providers, they are under no obligation to join the SEIU or pay dues.[2] The SEIU cannot discriminate against a provider because of his or her membership in a labor union, or lack thereof. Id. 315/10(a)(2). Thus, 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. In effect, the IPLRA authorizes Illinois to listen to only one voice before deciding pay rates, hours, and other key work conditions for the providers, and allows a majority of a given bargaining unit to select that voice.

         Appellants sued the SEIU and Illinois officials under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The providers alleged that the IPLRA violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments because, by authorizing the SEIU to bargain on behalf of HSP and CCAP providers, the statute forces appellants into an agency-like association with the SEIU. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief prohibiting the HSP and CCAP bargaining units from choosing bargaining representatives.

         Defendants-appellees moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim. The district court granted the motion, holding that "plaintiffs' theory runs counter to the established principle that a state does not infringe on associational rights by requiring the type of exclusive representation at issue here." Hill v. Sew. Emps. Int'l Union, Healthcare III, Ind., Mo., Kan., No. 15 CV 10175, 2016 WL 2755472, at *1 (N.D. 111. May 12, 2016).

         II. Discussion

         We review de novo a district court's grant of a motion to dismiss. Volling v. Kurtz Paramedic Sews., Inc., 840 F.3d 378, 382 (7th Cir. 2016). Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). "To properly state a claim, a plaintiff's complaint must contain allegations that plausibly suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising that possibility above a speculative level." Kubiak v. City of Chi, 810 F.3d 476, 480 (7th Cir.), cert, denied sub nom. Kubiak v. City of Chi., Ill. 137 S.Ct. 491 (2016) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). "We accept as true all of the well-pleaded facts in the complaint and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff[s-appellants]." Mat 480-81.

         The First Amendment encompasses both the freedom to associate and the freedom not to associate. Knox v. Sew. Emps. Int'l Union, Local 1000,567 U.S. 298, 132 S.Ct. 2277, 2288, (2012) (citing Roberts v. United States Jaycees,468 U.S. 609, 623 (1984)). Mandatory associations are subject to exacting scrutiny, meaning they require a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved through significantly less-restrictive means. Id. at 2289. Appellants argue ...


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