Union members rally in Ventura against Supreme Court case
Dozens of union members rallied at the Ventura County Medical Center Monday in response to the Janus v. AFSCME case being heard by the Supreme Court.
The case, which centers on whether government workers can be forced to pay fees to support union activities whether they are in a union or not, could deal a significant blow to organized labor efforts by cutting off a major source of unions’ revenue.
Illinois social worker Mark Janus, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case, is covered under a collective bargaining agreement that legally requires him to pay a fee to be represented by his union. Janus argues that being forced to pay union fees if the union takes actions he disagrees with violates his freedom of speech. Employees such as Janus may be covered by a union contract and receive benefits even if they are not members of the union.
If the Supreme Court rules in Janus’ favor, workers who are not union members would not be required to pay union fees. Although Janus and his supporters have framed the issue as a violation of his freedom of speech, unions will lose a major source of revenue that allows them to bargain for better and equal wages, sick and vacation time, anti-discrimination measures and protection from unjust firings, according to speakers at the Ventura rally.
Efforts to defund labor unions are thinly-veiled attacks on workers by large corporations and elected officials, according to Lompoc resident and event emcee Rob Perry, an employment specialist at Santa Barbara County social services.