* Click here for background. From AFSCME Council 31…
Janus: A political effort to rig the rules against working people
In an unfair economy, workers say the freedom to come together in strong unions is more important than ever
The United States Supreme Court today granted Certiorari in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. This case is a blatantly political and well-funded scheme to use the highest court in the land to further rig the economic rules against everyday working people. Behind this case are billionaire CEOs, corporate interests and politicians like Governor Bruce Rauner who have teamed up to deliver yet another attack on working people by striking at the freedom to come together in strong unions.
“The forces behind this case know that by joining together in strong unions, working people have the voice they need to level the economic and political playing field,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “Billionaires like Bruce Rauner are trying to rig the rules to take more power and influence for themselves.”
The case was born as an overt political attempt by Governor Rauner to attack public service workers through the courts. In an interview with the right-wing Hoover Institution, Rauner admitted the case has “nothing to do with the budget, nothing to do with reform” but instead is intended to “change the power structure”. A letter from the CEO of the corporate-backed, State Policy Network—the parent organization of the Illinois Policy Institute—revealed the case’s true intent: to strike a “mortal blow” and “defund” America’s unions.
The lack of merit in Janus is clear. Since 1977, the unanimous Supreme Court precedent set in the Abood case 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. The Janus case’s attempt to manipulate the court against working people should be rejected.
“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,” AFSCME President Lee Saunders said. “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. 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.”
“As a child protection investigator my work is vital to the safety of our state’s most vulnerable children and families. This court case is yet another political attack on the freedom of public service workers like me to speak up for the resources we need to protect our communities,” AFSCME Council 31 member Stephen Mittons said.
* Illinois Policy Institute: Meet the man who could end forced union fees for government workers