Statements by Thomas E. Perez and Arne Duncan on Harris v Quinn

Thomas E. Perez, Secretary of Labor:

“Home care workers do heroic work, providing high-quality, compassionate care that allows seniors and people with disabilities to live at home with independence and dignity.

“By organizing together, these workers have improved both their own working conditions and the quality of services they provide. The demand for skilled home care workers will only increase as the population ages and more people require these services.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision will make it more difficult for home care workers to have a united voice and the support they need to best serve their clients. We can and will continue to work in partnership with home care workers, consumers, employers, unions and states to ensure both good jobs and quality home care.”


Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education:

“Collective bargaining is a fundamental right that helped build America’s middle class. I’ve seen firsthand as Education Secretary that collaborating with unions and their state and local affiliates helps improve outcomes for students. The President and I remain committed to defending collective bargaining rights.”


Perez’s statement comes as no surprise. He has been one of the most effective Labor secretaries in the last 40-50 years–which is very much to his credit, but it is, unfortunately, also not saying a great deal since Carter and Clinton did not have especially strong Labor agendas or Labor secretaries. (Robert Reich did champion the FMLA, but I think that he has become a much stronger–or at least more outspoken–advocate for Labor since leaving office.)

Duncan’s statement does, however, come as a major surprise because he has been in the forefront of many of the “reforms” that have their source in Far Right’s continuing efforts to undermine all labor unions, but teachers’ unions in particular because their size and their political influence have moved them to the forefront of the Labor movement.

It would be nice if the statement indicated some sort of reconsideration of the Department of Education’s current focus, but, honestly, no one should be holding their breath for the evidence of such a shift.



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