A U.S. Supreme Court case called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 threatens our union and all working families. This case, which will come before the Supreme Court in February, represents a huge threat to our union. As a local leader, you are critical to how we defend and protect our union, our members and public services in the face of this threat.
This lawsuit aims to take away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions to speak up for themselves and their communities. In February, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the case and a decision is expected by the summer.
What is this case really about?
The case aims to erode the freedom to form unions to improve our lives and the communities we serve. Real freedom is about making a decent living from our hard work; it’s also about having time to take a loved one to the doctor, attend a parent-teacher conference and retire in dignity. The corporate special interests behind this case do not believe that working people should have the freedom to negotiate a fair return on their work.
Who is behind this case?
The National Right to Work Foundation is part of a network funded by corporate billionaires to use the courts to rig the rules against working people. For decades, these wealthy elites have used their massive fortunes to gain outsized influence to chip away at the progress unions have won for all working familes. Now they want the highest court in the land to take away our freedom to come together to protect what our communities need: a living wage, retirement security, health benefits, the ability to care for loved ones and more.
How do unions benefit our communities?
People in unions continue to win rights, benefits and protections for all working people and their communities. When public service workers belong to strong unions, they fight for staffing levels, equipment and training that saves lives and improves the public services our communities rely upon. And when union membership is high, entire communities enjoy higher wages.
What are fair share fees, and why are they important?
Unions work because we all pay our fair share and we all benefit from what we negotiate together. Fair share fees provide public service workers with the power in numbers they need to negotiate better wages, benefits and protections that improve work conditions and set standards for everyone.
Each public service worker chooses whether or not to join a union, but the union is still required by law to represent and negotiate on behalf of all public service workers – members and non-members alike. All employees receive the wage increases, benefits and workplace rights negotiated through the union.
The corporate special interests behind this case want to take away our ability to build strength in numbers. That is why they want the Supreme Court to rule that workers can receive all the benefits of a union contract without contributing anything in return. All workers should chip in their fair share to cover the cost of representing them.
Is anyone ever forced to join a union or pay for politics?
No. The simple truth is that no one is forced to join a union, and no one is forced to pay any fees that go to politics or political candidates. That is already the law of the land. Nothing in this case will change that. This case is about taking away the freedom of working people to join together, speak up for each other and build a better life for themselves and their families by undermining their ability to form strong unions.
What is the real impact of this case?
When working people have the freedom and opportunity to speak up together through unions, we make progress together that benefits everyone. The wealthy elite behind this case are trying to use the highest court in the land to take away our freedom to create the power in numbers to secure better lives for ourselves, our families, our communities and our country by undermining our ability to form strong unions.
If fair share fees are struck down, employees who benefit from the gains that the union makes will not have to pay anything toward the cost of that representation. If the billionaires and corporate CEOs behind this case get their way, they will take away the freedom of working people to come together and build power to fight for the things our families and communities need: everything from affordable health care and retirement security to quicker medical emergency response times.
This Article was retrieved from www.afscme.org/now/janus-for-leaders