January 04, 2016
This article was first published in the Fall 2015 edition of AFSCME Works. Click here to download the full magazine.
America’s economy is out of balance, with an economic recovery that’s creating record wealth for the top 1 percent while leaving working people behind. Corporate CEOs and the wealthy benefit from rules skewed in their favor, and the U.S. Supreme Court will decide a case next year that could make it even harder for average Americans. This case could undermine the right of workers to negotiate together for better wages and benefits to sustain their families.
Here is a brief Q & A to explain why.
Q: What is this case really about?
A: This case, called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, is really all about corporate CEOs and wealthy special interests working through the court system to make it harder for teachers, firefighters and other public service workers to come together through a union to have a voice on the job to sustain their families and get ahead.
Q: What’s at stake for working people?
A: Our union is required by law to negotiate for everyone in a workplace, and employees who don’t want to belong to our union contribute to the cost of that representation through fair share fees, instead of dues. It’s only fair that all workers help pay for the cost of securing those benefits and protections. But this case threatens to eliminate fair-share fees. Everyone can choose whether or not to join a union at work, and nothing in this case will change that. What it could change is our ability to improve the services we provide, and improve our wages and benefits, through a negotiated contract.
Q: How do we fight back?
A: As public service workers who are passionate about our work and want to get ahead, we must continue to express our voices in the workplace through our unions. By working hard and banding together with others to win better wages and benefits, we can sustain our families, win improvements on the job to make our work more effective, and fight for advancements that leave our communities better off than we found them. We must make our union AFSCME Strong
Q: What is AFSCME Strong?
A: We’re rebuilding our union, so that we can have safer workplaces, better benefits and wages, and retirement security.
What can you do? It’s simple: Talk to your co-workers. Talk about what you want to fix in your workplace. Ask your steward what you can do. You can help make your workplace safer, so that you are safer working for your community.
And consider becoming a PEOPLE donor. Let’s elect the lawmakers whose choices affect our jobs. For more information, visit AFSCMEStrong.org.
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