FILE - Illinois State Capitol

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois.

(The Center Square) – One of Illinois’ largest public-sector unions has settled a legal challenge over its refusal to let a woman withdraw from the union because she didn’t give the union a copy of her driver's license.

Hydie Nance, a home health care provider, attempted to leave the union in 2019 and again in March 2020. She was denied by SEIU Healthcare Illinois and Indiana, saying that Nance didn’t provide them with a valid photo ID, something she claims no one had told her prior to asking to leave the union. 

With help from the Right to Work Foundation, Nance sued the union in federal court, alleging SEIU “impedes and burdens personal assistants’ First Amendment right to stop subsidizing SEIU-HCII and its speech” and additionally “impinges on personal assistants’ right to privacy and exposes them to the threat of identity theft.”

Nance reached a settlement with the union last week. In addition, SEIU also agreed to allow anyone they’d denied withdrawal due to a lack of a photo ID to do so and reimburse their dues. 

“This scheme imposed by SEIU-HCII union officials forced Illinois home healthcare providers to produce photo IDs just to stop the flow of their own money that was going to fill union coffers in violation of the First Amendment,” National Right to Work Foundation President Mark Mix said.

Home care workers were deemed employees of the state of Illinois for the purposes of unionization via an executive order from former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

The Supreme Court ruled in 2014 that forced dues were unconstitutional in a case that involved home healthcare providers who assist individuals whose care is subsidized by the government. The case involved the same SEIU chapter that settled with Nance.

In the wake of the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME decision, several states including Illinois, have enacted laws that allow public-sector unions to create hurdles for their union members wishing to leave the ranks and keep their dues money. One of the most common is the creation of a small window of time in a year, typically coinciding with a work anniversary, in which the member can leave their union. 

Emails to SEIU were not returned.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.