On behalf of the wealthiest 1% and special interest groups, the Supreme Court overturned 40 years of constitutional law that ensured public-sector workers benefited from the collective voice of union representation on June 27. This decision jeopardizes union rights and protections for millions of public-sector workers at the state and local levels, and here in the District of Columbia.
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) overturns its 1977 decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, which allowed public-sector unions to collect fair-share fees from workers who have not joined the union yet benefit from the union’s contract and other services.
The 5-4 ruling is another effort to weaken workplace protections and advance corporate interests following another Supreme Court decision in which the high court ruled that companies can force employees into lengthy and expensive one-on-one arbitration procedures instead of allowing them to pursue class-action grievances.
“Workers know the importance of unions in the workplace and they will survive,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “But we need to come together as workers and use this as our moment to stand up, join the union, and organize like never before. Every worker can use their voice to fight for better working conditions and fair representation by joining the union.”
When union members pay to negotiate a contract for their workplace, everyone who’s covered by that contract, including non-union members, takes home higher pay and benefits, has greater job security, enjoys improved health and safety standards, and gets help in settling workplace disputes.
“If you’re covered by the union contract but you don’t belong to the union, it’s time to join your union and pay for the benefits you receive – because those benefits could vanish tomorrow unless workers take a stand and fight for their rights at the worksite,” Cox added.
After the decision was issued, AFGE members and activists gathered in front of the Supreme Court to protest the ruling.
AFGE is gravely troubled by the war on working people perpetuated by corporate interests and their allies in Congress and the White House. On May 25, President Trump issued a series of executive orders targeting federal employees’ collective bargaining and due process rights.
Janus Could Change the Way Unions Work