U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Unions

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Ashmar Mandou

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday handed a profound setback for union members as they voted 5-4 in the case, Janus v. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31, ruling that public sector workers who are represented by unions cannot be required to pay any union dues. The Janus case was originally prompted by Illinois’ governor, Bruce Rauner, as part of a national effort to challenge a national teachers’ movement against austerity, de-fund public sector unions, divest from working class communities of color and undercut workers’ rights. Upon the announcement, Gov. Rauner released a statement to the press, stating “For decades, Illinois workers have been forced to pay partial union dues against their will. The practice infringed on the constitutional rights of public sector workers who were asked to give up their First Amendment rights as a condition of employment. This decision fairly reinstates those rights.” However, several opponents voiced their disappointment in the ruling.

“When working people are united in a union, they have the power to raise wages, secure basic needs like healthcare coverage, improve their jobs and make life better for themselves and their families. Today’s Supreme Court decision sides with right-wing anti-worker forces to attack our basic rights, but we know that the labor movement is bigger than any right-wing court decision, bigger than any billionaire, or corporation. Our labor movement will never die because it is reborn every time a woman says no to sexual harassment in the workplace, every time a worker goes on strike, every time a worker demands dignity in the workplace and stands up for their rights.” -Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Janus vs. AFSCME case today is the culmination of yet another partisan effort to weaken and undercut public employee unions. Janus was funded and supported by corporate interest groups that want to make it harder for workers to stand united. The decision means that public sector employees can now choose to not pay fair share dues to the unions that secure for them fair wages and safe working conditions. Collective bargaining remains important to the fabric of our nation’s working landscape and I will continue to support unions and the efforts undertaken to protect working families.” -Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

“Bosses around the country—including the billionaire in Springfield and the con man in Washington DC—are celebrating today’s Supreme Court’s decision. Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 is a craven attack, underwritten by the wealthiest members of our rigged economy, on the ability of workers to fight for good jobs and robust public services. But the ruling by Trump’s Supreme Court should be no surprise. The real question is who will fight back? In Chicago and Illinois, union jobs in public schools, hospitals, and transportation were a pathway to the middle class for women and Black and Brown families.” -Emma Tai, executive director of United Working Families (UWF)

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