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What Janus v. AFSCME is Really About

The leader of AFSCME Council 31 in Illinois explains what the Illinois-based case Janus v. AFSCME is really about.
What Janus v. AFSCME is Really About
By Roberta Lynch, executive director, AFSCME Council 31 ·
What Janus v. AFSCME is Really About
Roberta Lynch

When working people have the freedom to speak up together through unions, we make progress together that benefits everyone. … The last thing America needs is an assault on the freedom to form strong unions and speak up for ourselves and our communities.

Unfortunately, attacking the freedom of working people to come together is exactly what the Janus v. AFSCME lawsuit is all about. Although fronted by a lone state employee, the case is bankrolled by the National Right to Work Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center — the litigation wing of the Illinois Policy Institute — part of a network funded by billionaires and corporate CEOs who use their massive fortunes to tilt the playing field in their favor.

Under current law, every union-represented teacher, police officer, caregiver or other public service worker may choose whether or not to join the union — but the union is required to negotiate on behalf of all workers whether they join or not. Since all the workers benefit from the union’s gains, it’s only fair that everyone chip in toward the cost. That’s why 40 years ago a unanimous Supreme Court approved the kind of cost-sharing arrangements known as fair share.

The Janus v. AFSCME case is an effort by powerful corporate interests to outlaw fair share. … It actually began as a political scheme by Gov. Bruce Rauner, who shortly after taking office issued an executive order and filed a lawsuit trying to ban fair-share fees.

(Excerpted from Lynch’s column in the (Springfield, Ill.) State Journal-Register. To read the entire column, go here).

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