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Supreme Court to Take Up Anti-Union Janus Case This Term

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The U.S. Supreme Court today accepted a case called Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which would make the entire public sector “right-to-work” in one fell swoop.

Janus – which the nation’s highest court will take up in the October 2017-June 2018 term – is a blatantly political and well-funded plot to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people.

The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people are able to win the power and voice they need to level the economic and political playing field. However, the people behind this case simply do not believe that working people deserve the same freedoms they have: to negotiate a fair return on their work.

A recent article in The Guardian highlights how this case is part of a blatant, years-long campaign to weaken unions. In a letter to supporters detailed in The Guardian, the CEO of the corporate-backed State Policy Network (SPN) reveals the true intent of a nationwide campaign of which Janus is a part: to strike a “mortal blow” and “defund and defang” America’s unions.

This case started with an overt political attempt by the billionaire governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, to attack public service workers through the courts. The merits of the case are clear. Since 1977, a Supreme Court case called Abood v. Detroit Board of Education has effectively governed labor relations between public sector employees and employers, allowing employers and employees the freedom to determine labor policies that best serve the public.

When reviewing the legal merits of Janus, it is clear that this attempt to manipulate the court against working people should be rejected.

AFSCME and three other public service unions – the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – issued a joint statement today opposing Janus.

“This case is yet another example of corporate interests using their power and influence to launch a political attack on working people and rig the rules of the economy in their own favor. When working people are able to join strong unions, they have the strength in numbers they need to fight for the freedoms they deserve, like access to quality health care, retirement security and time off work to care for a loved one,” said AFSCME Pres. Lee Saunders. “The merits of the case, and 40 years of Supreme Court precedent and sound law, are on our side. We look forward to the Supreme Court honoring its earlier rulings.”

Stephen Mittons, a member of AFSCME Council 31, also commented on the Janus case.

 “My work as a child protection investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is vital to the safety of our state’s most vulnerable children and families,” Mittons said. “This court case is yet another political attack on the freedom of my colleagues and I to speak up to ensure that we can safely and adequately manage our caseloads, which reflects our commitment to safety and public service to our communities.”