The Supreme Court issued the long-awaited decision in the case of Janus vs. AFSCME. As expected, we witnessed the highest legal authority in the United States disregard 40 years of their own legal precedents protecting workers’ rights and instead chose to continue to erode unions.
The Janus vs. AFSCME case was argued by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation – a group whose sole purpose is to break unions. This case, like many others, is supported and funded by billionaires and corporations who began the “Right to Work” movement. Their aim is to strip workers’ rights, suppress wages, and ship jobs overseas to maximize their personal profits.
Our eyes are wide open to the “Right to Work” lies designed to divide us. Thousands of our members have already made the choice to stand with their co-workers and choose our union because they understand that standing together strengthens our ability to negotiate good contracts, fight for higher wages, defend our members’ rights and protect our hard-earned pensions.
Next year we head into bargaining with the state. During our last collective bargaining, we negotiated the largest contract in the history of the State of California. Our contract included an across the board 11.5% pay increase and a $2,500 bonus. Together we won a host of working condition benefits like a pathway to end mandatory overtime, increased opportunities for upward mobility and mechanisms to address discrepancies in the cost of living throughout our state.
These victories were the result of a strong, active membership and the work of thousands of members and leaders who stood strong in the face of adversity to fight for their families.
Our unprecedented wins at SEIU Local 1000 are in sharp contrast to what we’ve seen in places like Wisconsin, where the state workers contract went from 397 pages to 4 after the passage of anti-union legislation. Since 2010, Wisconsin has seen:
They have seen the largest middle class decline of any state
Public employees have received only a 2% salary increase in the last 8 years
Health contributions immediately reduced employees’ take-home pay by up to 12%
An immediate 24% cutback to public employees benefits after the passage of anti-union legislation in 2010.
How to stay strong and protect our hard won rights
When we choose our union, we choose a strong contract, we choose to fight for our hard-earned pensions, and we choose to build the power and strength of SEIU Local 1000.
There is no escaping it: The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. One-quarter of American workers make less than $10 per hour, a wage well below the current poverty level. The top 1 percent have an average net worth of $26.4 million, and on top of that, they take home $1.5 million annually. The wealthiest 1 percent own 40 percent of the income of our entire country, and that number is growing.
When he was gunned down by an assassin’s bullet in 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was in Memphis. His last political act was to support sanitation workers as they fought for economic security and dignity on the job. Dr. King understood that the struggle for equality and justice is not limited to civil rights. It also includes economic justice. So, as he led the great struggle for civil rights, he also fought for labor rights.
Public employee unions are a force in California. They’re why minimum wages here are rising to $15 an hour and why farmworkers get overtime. They got voters to raise taxes to support public schools during the recession and, less happily, negotiated pensions with costs that are sky high.
Public sector unions also have helped keep Democrats in power in blue states and kept organized labor from extinction. For this reason, they are a thorn in the side of ideological conservatives, who blame them for big government.
Public employee unions rallied around the country as arguments were made before the United States Supreme Court regarding whether workers who disagree with unions’ political activities must be forced to pay union dues called agency fees.
“This case is really about silencing the voices of working families, privatizing our jobs, taking away our wages, taking away our job protection and our retirement.” – Regina Whitney, President of DLC 743
On Monday the Supreme Court was asked — again — to engage in some union-busting in the name of the 1st Amendment.
Specifically, the justices were asked to rule that public employee unions may not require non-members to pay a fee to defray the cost of collective bargaining and other services from which they benefit. Ominously, several justices indicated in their comments at oral argument that they’re willing to do just that, overruling a 41-year-old precedent.
Next week, the nine justices on the Supreme Court of the United States will hear a case that could change the relationship between public sector unions and the workers they represent in more than 20 states, including California.
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.
“I understand that it is only by standing together with my union brothers and sisters that we are able to continue to improve our working conditions.” – Tracie Kimbrough, Women’s Empowerment Committee Chair
Nearly 100 teachers, nurses, transit workers and politicians rallied at San Francisco City Hall Monday in response to a U.S. Supreme Court case that could decrease funding and participation in unions.
The court heard arguments today in the case, Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council (AFSCME), in which the plaintiffs argue that non-union workers should not have to pay “fair-share” union fees. The U.S. Supreme Court set that precedent 40 years ago.
What do public sector unions in Orange County turn to when facing an existential threat at the Supreme Court of the United States? People held signs spelling out “solidarity” in answering the question during an urgent noontime rally yesterday at UC Irvine. A new six-member coalition of campus unions banded together to sound the alarm on Janus v.