The U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in Janus v. AFSCME on June 26, 2018, saying it is unconstitutional to collect fees from public employees who choose not to be a member of the union that negotiates the contract that provides their wages, benefits and other working conditions.
This decision, which was split along political lines within the Court, is one that harms working people and their families, turning its back on the long and important history of the labor movement. The Court’s opinion was expected following recent cases pressed in Wisconsin and elsewhere by those who want to destroy organized labor.
Organized labor helps even the field between management and employees so that workers don’t have to stand alone at the mercy of the employer. Active unions also help to create a more democratic institution. It’s imperative to remember that employers don’t provide the type of wages, benefits and working conditions we have here, out of the goodness of their hearts; the UCPEA Contract is a result of our union negotiating with the university and the SEBAC agreement is a result of all unionized state employees negotiating with the state.
The history of the labor movement tells us that the ability to bargain collectively, is always opposed by corporations and champions of efforts to erode worker rights. Today’s decision is just the latest attempt to weaken organized labor. We aren’t scared, and we aren’t going anywhere. We will follow this new interpretation of constitutional rights AND we will keep fighting for what is fair and equitable.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said today that organized labor has never depended on any politician or judge to decide our fate and that “we are aren’t about to start now.”
There are many unanswered questions about how this decision will affect public employee unions, including UCPEA, as we move forward. What we do know is that the approval rating of unions is at a 14-year high and that working families know the best way to get a raise, better benefits and protection against unfair treatment on the job, is through a union contract.
UCPEA will continue working with our union colleagues on campus, AFT-CT and SEBAC to answer the questions you may have about the impact of this decision. Most importantly, we will continue to work on behalf of our members to ensure that UCPEA remains a strong advocate for all of us.