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Winner v. Rauner

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

December 20, 2016

Sandy Winner and Laura Baston, individually and on behalf of all other similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
Governor Bruce Rauner, in his official capacity as Governor of Illinois, and SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Manish S. Shah United States District Judge

         Plaintiffs Sandy Winner and Laura Baston are providers of day care home services in Illinois who chose not to join the union, SEIU Local No. 880, but who nonetheless paid the required fair-share fee to SEIU for the union's collective bargaining efforts. They bring this lawsuit seeking the return of all fair-share fees previously paid without consent and to enforce the Supreme Court's holding in Harris v. Quinn, 134 S.Ct. 2618 (2014). Count I against SEIU is for damages for violation of plaintiffs' rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Counts II and III against SEIU are for unjust enrichment and money had and received. Count IV against SEIU and the state is for a permanent injunction and declaratory relief for violation of plaintiffs' rights under § 1983. Both defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings. Both motions are granted.

         I. Legal Standards

         “After the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). The moving party must prove there are no material issues of fact that need to be resolved. N. Indiana Gun & Outdoor Shows, Inc. v. City of S. Bend, 163 F.3d 449, 452 (7th Cir. 1998). The court may grant a Rule 12(c) motion only if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff cannot prove any facts that would support her claim for relief. Id. (quotation omitted). To make this determination, the court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws all inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Dawson v. Gen. Motors Corp., 977 F.2d 369, 372 (7th Cir. 1992). The court only considers the complaint, the answer, any attached written instruments that the complaint refers to and that are central to plaintiff's claim, and any information that is subject to judicial notice. Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c); Venture Assocs. Corp. v. Zenith Data Sys. Corp., 987 F.2d 429, 431 (7th Cir. 1993), overruled on other grounds; Geinosky v. City of Chicago, 675 F.3d 743, 745 n.1 (7th Cir. 2012).

         II. Facts

         The Illinois Department of Human Services administers an affordable child-care program for low-income, working families. [24] ¶¶ 11-12;[1] 305 ILCS 5/9A-11; 89 Ill. Admin. Code § 50.210 et seq. Winner began working as a day care home provider for this program in approximately 2000, and Baston began in approximately 1989. [24] ¶¶ 7-8. As of the date the complaint was filed, both Winner and Baston still worked as providers. Id. Providers are employed by families who participate in the program, not by the state. [24] ¶¶ 13, 15, 18.

         On February 18, 2005, the governor of Illinois issued the “Executive Order On Collective Negotiation by Day Care Home Providers.” [24] ¶¶ 21-22; [24-1] at 1- 3. It explained that since the state does not hire, supervise, or terminate providers, they are not state employees and consequently, providers are not eligible to receive statutory benefits. [24] ¶ 24. It also provided: “The State shall recognize a representative […], as the exclusive representative of day care home providers.” Id. The Executive Order was codified by Public Act 94-320, which amended the definition of “public employee” in 305 ILCS 5/9A-11 of the Illinois Public Aid Code, Child Care to include providers. [24] ¶¶ 25, 30; [24-2] at 1-8. The amendment, like the Executive Order, did not reference fair-share fees. Id. Before and after the amendment, 5 ILCS 315/3 included a definition for fair-share agreements:

‘Fair share agreement' means an agreement between the employer and an employee organization under which all or any of the employees in a collective bargaining unit are required to pay their proportionate share of the costs of the collective bargaining process, contract administration, and pursuing matters affecting wages, hours, and other conditions of employment, but not to exceed the amount of dues uniformly required of members. The amount certified by the exclusive representative shall not include any fees for contributions related to the election or support of any candidate for political office. Nothing in this subsection (g) shall preclude an employee from making voluntary political contributions in conjunction with his or her fair share payment.

         Under the Executive Order, providers were required to elect, by a majority, an exclusive representative with whom the state would engage in collective negotiations “concerning all terms and conditions of the provision of services for day care home providers under the State's child care assistance program.” [24-1] at 2-3. SEIU became the exclusive representative of providers on July 15, 2005. [24] ¶ 31; [24-6] at 2. Baston received a notice addressed to home child-care providers who were not members of SEIU Local 880. [24] ¶ 34; [24-3] at 1-3. The notice informed providers that SEIU negotiated a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement “establishing the rates, benefits and working conditions of all Home Child Care Providers.” [24-3] at 1. It also explained that the collective bargaining agreement required all providers to pay a fair-share fee, which covered each provider's proportionate share of the costs SEIU incurred while representing providers in these endeavors. Id. The collective bargaining agreement was between SEIU, the Illinois Department of Central Management Services, and the Department of Human Services; it was effective from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2015. [24] ¶ 54; [24-6] at 1-23.

         Baston received a letter from the Illinois Department of Human Services dated July 28, 2014. [24] ¶ 66; [24-7]. It briefly explained the Supreme Court's holding in Harris, which found the collection of compulsory fair-share fees from in-home-care personal assistants, who were not full-fledged state employees, unconstitutional. Id. The letter informed Baston that defendants would no longer collect fair-share fees from providers for services it conducted after July 1, 2014, unless the provider has agreed to full union membership. Id.

         During their employment, neither Winner nor Baston agreed to full union membership with SEIU. [24] ¶¶ 7-8. Nevertheless, both Winner and Baston paid fair-share fees to SEIU for almost ten years. [24] ¶ 3.

         III. Analysis

         A. Count IV for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief Does not Present a Justiciable Controversy

         Injunctive and declaratory judgment remedies are discretionary. Nat'l Health Fed'n v. Weinberger, 518 F.2d 711, 712 (7th Cir. 1975) (citing Abbott Laboratories v. Gardner, 387 U.S. 136, 148 (1967)). Premature adjudication caused by meddling in abstract disagreements or interfering in agency decision-making should be avoided, as it wastes judicial resources. Abbott, 387 U.S. at 148-49. Courts grant such remedies only when the controversy is ripe for judicial resolution. Alcan ...


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