WORKERS UNITED, SEIU
A LABOR UNION FOR
A Message from Workers United President Lynne Fox
On Monday, February 26th, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME case. This is a case that has the potential to undermine the efforts of the labor movement and our union. [For more information on this case, click here and here.]
The plaintiff in this case, Mark Janus, is not alone. He is being backed by the National Right to Work Foundation, Republican Governor Bruce Rauner (a multi-millionaire union-hater), the Koch brothers, the Freedom Foundation and other right-wing corporate interests.
Janus is just the vehicle these right-wing organizations are using to try to overturn a 1977 Supreme Court decision (Abood v. Detroit Board of Education), where Unions were given the right to collect fees from all employees in a union shop, both union and non-union members.
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 in that shop – members and non-members alike.
All employees receive the wage increases, benefits and workplace rights negotiated through the union. The union members pay dues and receive all the benefits of union membership. The non-union employees pay a "fair share fee" to cover the costs of the union's collective bargaining activities because they benefit from the union’s activities even though they are not members.
Even though AFSCME is the defendant in this case, an adverse decision will affect ALL union members. This is a concerted attack against all Unions, sponsored by billionaires and corporate interests, who feel they should not share their power with the workers who make their capital.
This case is only the beginning. If the corporate interests are successful in this case, they will continue their assault on workers by destroying unions. This case has the potential to significantly decrease union membership levels in our country, resulting in lower wages, fewer benefits, and the complete erosion of our social contract.