WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court says public sector unions can’t collect fees from home health care workers who object to being affiliated with a union.

The justices on Monday said collecting the fees violates the First Amendment rights of workers who are not union members.

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The ruling is a financial blow to labor unions that have bolstered their ranks in Illinois and other states by signing up hundreds of thousands of home health care workers.

The case was brought by a group of Illinois in-home care workers who said they didn’t want to pay fees related to collective bargaining. They claimed the “fair share fees” violate their constitutional rights by compelling them to associate with the union.

Lower courts had thrown out the lawsuit.

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