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Documentary Film Shows Threat to ‘Right to Unite’

by Pablo Ros  |  November 17, 2015

Documentary Film Shows Threat to ‘Right to Unite’

“The Right to Unite” is a 19-minute documentary film by Alliance for Justice that captures exactly what’s at stake if rich, powerful interests have their way in an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case known as Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.

Narrated by Bradley Whitford, an American actor and union member best known for his role in the TV drama, The West Wing, the film tells the story of two American women, Lidia Rodriguez of AFSCME’s United Domestic Workers and Alantris Muhammad of SEIU.

Rodriguez and Muhammad demonstrate extraordinary self-sacrifice in the face of tragedy and adversity. Like many home care providers who give up their careers and personal goals to care for loved ones at home, these two women are models of compassion and loving care.

They are also, as home care workers, what our society needs to provide for our aging population in the best and most cost-efficient way. Unfortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t see it that way.

In 2014, the conservative majority on the bench voted to limit the collective bargaining rights of home care providers, many of whom make just above the minimum wage. As Rodriguez herself points out in the film: “I get paid $10.10 an hour…. Animal shelter workers get paid $17 an hour for taking care of dogs.”

But it could get worse. If the same conservative justices band together again in the Friedrichs case, then all public sector workers could see their collective bargaining rights severely limited. This would undoubtedly lead to a decline in the quality of public services and further exacerbate income inequality in our nation.

Watch the trailer here (the full documentary begins right afterwards).

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