Supreme Court Bows Down to Right-Wing – Janus Decision Will Not Stop Us!
On June 27, the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 that ruled a public employee cannot be required to pay dues or fees for the representation the union provides related to collective bargaining and other representational activities.
Activist justices overturn 40-years of precedent
The majority on the Supreme Court ruled that Mark Janus, a State of Illinois employee, had his First Amendment rights violated when his union negotiated good wages, benefits and job protections for him and his co-workers. Although Janus claimed the union-negotiated contract violated his rights, he took every single benefit the union bargained for him.
This decision, in which the five far-right-wing justices were in the majority, overturned over 40 years of Supreme Court precedent.
The Janus case is a result of years of effort and money by powerful, wealthy interests who are out to destroy America’s labor unions and the middle class prosperity that those unions have achieved and protected. Janus’ lawsuit was supported by billionaires, rightwing think tanks, conservative anti-union politicians and their hand-picked Supreme Court Justices.
All five members of the Supreme Court majority were Republican appointees.
Attack on the middle class
The Janus decision is a direct attack on America’s labor unions, public employees and working families. The result of the Janus case is that all public sector unions in the country are now effectively right-to-work. This means that unions have a duty to represent everyone in the bargaining unit, regardless of their union membership.
This coordinated attack on unions by the right-wing in this country did not begin with the Janus case. Beginning with the elections of 2010, union busting politicians have attacked middle class families and the unions that represent them. One of the results of this attack has been right-to-work laws in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and West Virginia. In those states, it was politicians that took action to hurt union members (and their own constituents).
There are thousands of UWUA public sector members affected by the Janus case, but the UWUA and its locals that represent public sector employees have been preparing for Janus and will be able to withstand this setback.
United we bargain, divided we beg
In Michigan, the UWUA has lost only a handful of members since right-to-work went into effect in 2013. The UWUA and the locals affected by Janus are able to show the membership the value of a strong union contract. Unlike the anti-union forces that concocted the Janus case and the right-wing justices who issued the decision, unions know that workers are not stupid. UWUA members throughout the country understand that you get nothing in life for free and that a strong union, supported by union membership and union dues, is what brings power to the workplace. UWUA members know that united we bargain and divided we beg.
The Janus decision is obviously not helpful, but that case was decided by five black-robed, right-wing men who care nothing about America’s workers. The men and women of this country who go to work every day to provide for their family understand that a strong, vibrant labor movement benefits the nation as a whole. In the end, the fate of the union is in the hands of its members and the fate of the country is in the hands of its citizens. That is what gives workers everywhere power and hope.
UWUA General Counsel