The decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the agency fee case Janus v. AFSCME was strongly condemned by leaders of public-sector unions across the nation on Thursday as part of a longstanding attack on working people and organized labor.
"This case is one more piece of a relentless right-wing assault on unions,” said MTA President Barbara Madeloni. “And we are ready to do what is needed to retain and strengthen union power on behalf of not only working educators, but also our students, our schools, and our communities.”
“The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions.”
Madeloni continued, “That is: talk to one another, identify issues, and grow local participation in our union. We have faith that as we take on this attack, we will come out stronger for it.”
A statement released by leaders of the nation’s four largest public-sector unions — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the Service Employees International Union — called the Janus case “a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people.”
“The billionaire CEOs and corporate interests behind this case, and the politicians who do their bidding, have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions,” the statement continued. “The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people are able to win the power and voice they need to level the economic and political playing field. However, the people behind this case simply do not believe that working people deserve the same freedoms they have: to negotiate a fair return on their work.”
The Janus case “started with an overt political attempt by the billionaire governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, to attack public service workers through the courts,” the statement noted. “And, in a letter to supporters detailed in The Guardian, the CEO of the corporate-backed State Policy Network reveals the true intent of a nationwide campaign of which Janus is a part: to strike a ‘mortal blow’ and ‘defund and defang’ America’s unions.”
Since 1977, the Supreme Court’s decision in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education “has effectively governed labor relations between public-sector employees and employers, allowing employers and employees the freedom to determine labor policies that best serve the public,” the statement said. “When reviewing the legal merits of this case, it is clear that this attempt to manipulate the court against working people should be rejected.”