Saturday, September 30, 2017

Why Janus vs. AFSCME matters to you

The President and the nine Justices of the Supreme Court -
photo by Fred Schilling / Supreme Court via AP

Janus vs. AFSCME is a landmark case that the Supreme Court was deadlocked on ( 4-4 ) after Justice Antonin Scalia unexpectedly died in February 2016. With the recent appointment of conservative Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, there's likely to be a ruling.

Mark Janus is an Illinois state employee who objects to paying fees to his union. Fees pay for administration, contract defense, and bargaining among other things, and have been upheld as compulsory by the Supreme Court in the past ( Abood v. Detroit Board of Education ).

Now, that ruling is coming under question.

Public sector unions like AFSCME, NEA, AFT and SEIU form the backbone of the labor movement's political power. They have the size and the finances to compete with pro-business and corporate interests in the public policy arena. They can amplify the voice of everyday working people. The dues they collect from members make their efforts possible.

The likely effect of a conservative ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME will be to sharply curtail the funding labor unions have to support pro-labor and pro-worker issues. This could weaken unions further, and undermine the support they provide for working people and their issues.

This is not a good result for the average working person.

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