Statement | Janus v. AFSCME Council 31

News from EPI Janus case is nothing more than an attack on working people

Today, anti-worker groups petitioned the Supreme Court for review in Janus v. AFSCME, a case that could profoundly affect the ability of millions of public-sector workers to improve their wages and working conditions—further exacerbating the wage stagnation that represents one our most pressing economic challenges. Janus threatens the right of a majority of workers, through their democratically elected union, to bargain a contract with their public employer that requires every employee covered by the contract to pay their fair share of the costs of negotiating it, administering it, and enforcing it. Eliminating fair-share fees simply protects people who want to get something for nothing.

It is profoundly undemocratic to elevate the objections of a minority over the democratically determined choices of the majority of workers. Anywhere else in society it would be considered outrageous to get the benefits of a common enterprise without paying one’s fair share.

The Supreme Court decided this issue forty years ago in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education and it has been the law of the land since. This case is nothing more than an attack on workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain. The facts on this are clear: public employees in states where unions cannot collect fair-share fees earn less than their counterparts in fair share states. If the Supreme Court decides in favor of weakening unions, it will impact the future of democratic decision making in the workplace and the preservation of good, middle-class jobs in public employment.