* Posted in the order received. International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers…
Today’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v AFSCME was based on a bogus free speech argument. This politically motivated case brought by Mark Janus, paid for by corporate interests, was designed to undercut the bargaining power of those employed in local and state government. This wasn’t about free speech — this was about silencing workers’ voices. The Justices who supported this slap in the face to public employees and their families, reversing settled law, telegraphed that they are little better than political hacks.
In the short run, the Janus decision may hurt some unions financially, but in the long run it will serve to make unions and their members more militant and force a stronger culture of internal organizing. The recent statewide teacher strikes demonstrate that when public sector workers face limitations on their bargaining rights they take their case to the streets.
* Sen. Manar…
State Senator Andy Manar said he is disappointed the U.S. Supreme Court moved today to weaken organized labor and collective bargaining rights for American workers.
“As if the middle class doesn’t have enough problems already, the Supreme Court today chose to put wealthy corporate interests ahead of working people in Illinois and across the country,” said Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat whose district includes a large number of unionized state employees, as well as many trade union members.
“This case was never about freedom of speech. Its aim from the start was to stifle the voices of teachers, first responders and other frontline workers across the country,” Manar said.
“Make no mistake: the corporations and far-right dark-money organizations behind this case that desperately want more control over government to advance their own interests benefit the most from weakening collective bargaining and diminishing the voice of union labor.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the landmark Illinois public employee union case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 overturns unions’ ability to collect fees from non-members to cover the costs of collective bargaining and enforcement of labor contracts. These fees are known as “fair-share” or “agency fee” payments.
Bruce Rauner filed suit over fair-share fees in 2015 shortly after becoming governor. The Supreme Court’s ruling, which overturns a 1977 decision, has implications for collective bargaining units all over the country.
* Treasurer Frerichs…
“The Supreme Court turned its back on common sense today,” Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said in response to the court’s 5-4 decision in Janus vs. AFSCME.
“Individuals who receive a service should pay for that service. The court ignored this basic concept to craft a legal argument for the sole purpose of undermining unions in the public sector,” Frerichs said.
“The fair share solution protected the rights of everyone. Workers who did not want to become a member of the union only paid for the services they received; they did not have to pay for political contributions or other union activities unrelated to the narrow scope of representation. The court majority rejected a pragmatic compromise crafted in the 1977 case of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. Today’s decision is about an extremist, anti-union ideology,” Frerichs said.
This post will be updated.
…Adding… Press release…
Schakowsky Statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME
“This is a sad day for public employees and all of us who rely on them to provide us with the services we need, from keeping our air and water clean to teaching our children to protecting public health. Janus started with Governor Rauner but it was quickly embraced by all those whose mission is to take away the freedoms of working women and men. Janus is about making it more difficult for state and local workers to join together in unions, to bargain collectively for fair wages and benefits, to promote safe workplaces, to blow the whistle on fraud and abuse, and to stand up for the people they serve. It is part of an aggressive, well-funded attack on federal, state and local, and private sector workers.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that collective bargaining was worth fighting for, which is why he stood arm-in-arm with the Memphis sanitation workers during their strike 50 years ago. Today, collective bargaining for public sector workers is more necessary than ever – look no further than the wildcat teacher strikes from West Virginia to Arizona. It’s a shame the Court has chosen to side with billionaires and corporations over teachers, firefighters, social workers, and emergency medical technicians.
“Janus is a terrible decision but it is not the final word. Those of us who know that unions help working families succeed and communities prosper will not just continue the work to promote workplace democracy – we will fight harder than ever.”
* Press release…
he U.S. Supreme Court today issued a 5-4 decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case that was bankrolled by corporate interest groups that wanted to rig the economic system further in their favor and make it even harder for working people to stand united. The Janus decision is not just an attack on public unions, it’s an attack on public education. Seven out of ten teachers are in a union nationwide. This case is a direct attempt to limit the collective voice of educators who advocate for students across the country. Illinois Education Association (IEA) President Kathi Griffin released a video on Facebook to our 135,000 members. The following is a statement from Griffin:
“We are disappointed, but not surprised, by today’s Supreme Court decision that does not allow unions like ours to collect fees from non-members who benefit from the union’s work.
“Let’s be clear, the goal of the people who supported this legal case, including Governor Rauner, is to trying to silence IEA, NEA, local associations and other public employee unions. They want to stop us from using our collective voice to advocate for our students, for ourselves and for public education.
“They will fail.
“It has never been more vital that those of us who believe in fair contracts use our collective voice to make sure that all students have access to a high-quality public education. We will continue to spread the truth about the importance of union membership to all of our brothers and sisters working in schools.
“This fight is just beginning. We won’t let them stop us. We will use their attacks to build a stronger IEA and we will move forward together because we know we are stronger united.”
Americans for Prosperity-Illinois State Director Andrew Nelms issued the following statement:
“This decision is a huge victory for workers not just in Illinois but across the country. Forcing public workers to fund political activity to keep a job and support their family is a violation of the Constitution. This case vindicates our activists who have long asserted that forcing workers to fund political activity without their consent was a violation of the fundamental and unassailable right to free speech.”
Following is the statement of Emma Tai, Executive Director of United Working Families (UWF), on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling today on Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.
“Bosses around the country—including the billionaire in Springfield and the con man in Washington DC—are celebrating today’s Supreme Court’s decision. Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 is a craven attack, underwritten by the wealthiest members of our rigged economy, on the ability of workers to fight for good jobs and robust public services.
“But the ruling by Trump’s Supreme Court should be no surprise. The real question is who will fight back?
“In Chicago and Illinois, union jobs in public schools, hospitals, and transportation were a pathway to the middle class for women and Black and Brown families. While Democrats will use today to defend workers, it was Democrats, not Republicans, who decimated those jobs when they privatized schools, sold parking meters, and closed public clinics. Both Democrats and Republicans refuse to ask their wealthy donors to pay taxes for the flourishing public services we deserve.
“In the aftermath of Janus, the attacks on our jobs, schools, and communities will only deepen. Working people need a real political alternative. That’s what United Working Families is here for.”
Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery released the following statement:
“Though not unexpected, it was incredibly disappointing to see powerful special interests take precedence over the best interests of middle-class Americans at the Supreme Court today.
This case was a direct attack on working people and the causes we fight for every day – protections like health care, safe workplaces, and small class sizes.
This is personal for all teachers, school staff, college faculty and staff, graduate workers, and other hardworking public employees – but even more so here in Illinois, where Governor Bruce Rauner originated this well-funded attack.
Rauner and his powerful friends are focused on eliminating unions because we are one of the last checks on their control and their attempts to rig the economy and democracy further against working people.
And so no court case will divide us or stop our movement. We value our voice. We value our union. And we will keep fighting powerfully for the future we all deserve.”
Following the Supreme Court decision in Janus v AFSCME curtailing workers’ rights and limiting the ability of public-sector unions to collectively bargain on behalf of their members, U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) released the following statement:
“As income inequality rises and middle-class wages lag behind, we need to do everything we can to make it easier for working Americans to join a union and negotiate for fair wages and a better workplace. Unfortunately, this decision by the Supreme Court will do the opposite, overturning decades of precedent to make it harder for unions to effectively protect and support working people trying to achieve their own American Dream. I’m disappointed that the Court sided with the anti-union activists and well-funded corporations who want to chip away at workers’ rights, but I will continue to stand up to those who want to lower wages, roll back workplace protections and restrict entry into America’s middle class.”
In a decision that effectively alters the definition of the word “collective,” the U.S. Supreme Court opened the door for individual employees to no longer pay for the workplace benefits and protections unions collectively bargain on their behalf.
Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton released a statement expressing his disappointment in the decision.
“The ability to collectively bargain provides economic power and protections that for decades strengthened working families across this country.
I am disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court sided with anti-union corporate interests who seek to redefine the very meaning of the word ‘collective’ for no reason other than to enrich their own bottom line at the expense of workers.
I remain a believer in the role of organized labor and collective bargaining to make our workplaces and communities strong. Unions were born of challenges and sacrifice. I have faith that they will weather this challenge, too.
But that belief doesn’t change the fact that this is a fundamentally disappointing decision and harbinger of where this anti-worker political agenda will go if we don’t protect the economic rights of working men and women.”
Greg Kelley, president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana Missouri & Kansas, released the following statement regarding today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME:
“The U.S. Supreme Court ‘s ruling today in favor of the plaintiff in Janus v. AFSCME comes as no surprise. The right-wing court is following lockstep with President Trump, Gov. Rauner, the super wealthy and anti-union groups like the Illinois Policy Institute who want to deprive workers a voice and drive as much profit as possible to the top 1 percent regardless of the impact on everyday Americans who depend on the services public workers provide.
“What the court and these groups don’t realize, however, is that workers will not be deterred by such rulings and will continue to organize and unite to win fair wages and benefits while also providing the care and services that taxpayers want and deserve.
“When these forces came against our members in Harris v. Quinn, we fought back and became even stronger. We’re continuing to win better wages and work conditions in order to deliver better services.
“This attempt to turn back the clock to a time when there were sweatshops, child labor, long hours and no worker benefits will not prevail. As we’ve seen in states like West Virginia, Oklahoma, Kentucky and Arizona, workers want a voice on the job.
“America needs unions today more than ever because organized workers stand in the way of this right-wing corporate agenda.”
“I am appalled by today’s Supreme Court ruling on Janus v. AFSCME,” said JB Pritzker. “While Bruce Rauner relentlessly pursued this special interest agenda, our state was decimated by his manufactured 736-day budget crisis. This is just another example of Rauner partnering with anti-worker special interest groups like the Illinois Policy Institute and the National Right to Work Foundation to pursue his own agenda over the best interests of working families. Illinois needs a governor who understands that unions built our middle class, not one who fights to undermine our workers at every turn. The fight is far from over and when I’m governor, Illinois’ working families will have a champion and an ally who will stand with them in the workplace and on the picket line.”
* A bunch all at once…
“Unions will always be the most effective force and vehicle to propel working people into the middle class. Despite this unprecedented and nefarious political attack – designed to further rig the rules against working people — nothing changes the fact that America needs unions now more than ever. We are more resolved than ever to fight like hell to win for our members and the communities they care so much about. AFSCME members don’t do this work to get rich. They do it because it’s a calling — and for that service, they deserve respect. They deserve the same freedoms as the CEOs and billionaires who continue to rig the rules against everyone else. The American labor movement lives on, and we’re going to be there every day, fighting hard for all working people, our freedoms and for our country.” - Lee Saunders, President, AFSCME
“No court case, win or lose, could ever change how important my work and service is to me and the community I care about. My union gives me the strength, freedom and the tools I need to help people and to provide for my family. That’s why I’ll always stick with my coworkers, no matter what. We’re going to keep doing what we’ve been doing: organizing and talking to coworkers and community members, building power for working people.” - Stephen Mittons, AFSCME Council 31 member, Child Protection Investigator for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services
“Don’t count us out. While today the thirst for power trumped the aspirations and needs of communities and the people who serve them, workers are sticking with the union because unions are still the best vehicle working people have to get ahead.
“Strong unions create strong communities. We will continue fighting, caring, showing up and voting, to make possible what is impossible for individuals acting alone. The teacher walkouts this spring, with educators fighting for the funding children need, were an example of how we will continue to make that case—in the halls of statehouses and the court of public opinion, in our workplaces and communities, and at the ballot box in November—through organizing, activism and members recommitting to their union.
“This is a dark day in U.S. jurisprudence. Swung by a Trump-appointed justice with a long history of ruling for the wealthy and corporations over regular people, the Supreme Court overturned a 40-year unanimously decided precedent that has given teachers and firefighters, nurses and cops, a path to a better life for themselves and their communities.
“More than forty years ago, the court recognized that collective bargaining for teachers and other public sector workers benefits those workers, their employers and their communities. Union representation, if chosen by a majority, is the glue that holds us together. That wisdom has now been abandoned by the slimmest majority.
“The dissenting justices saw this case for what it really was—a warping and weaponizing of the First Amendment, absent any evidence or reason, to hurt working people. Not only was Abood well within the mainstream of First Amendment law, it has been affirmed six times and applied to other cases upholding bar fees for lawyers and student activity fees at public colleges.” -Randi Weingarten, President, AFT
“Regardless of the Supreme Court ruling, the teachers in our district will stick together to make sure we have a say in the future of our kids. We are a small union in a rural and conservative part of Ohio. But nearly all of the teachers in our district are full dues-paying members—because we know that teachers’ ability to create a safe learning environment for kids and make teaching a viable profession comes directly from being part of a strong union.” - Holly Kimpon, a high school biology and anatomy teacher, AFT member and president of the Genoa Area Education Association in Ohio
“Today’s radical decision by the Supreme Court is a blatant slap in the face for educators, nurses, firefighters, police officers and all public servants who make our communities strong and safe. We are living in a system that is rigged to benefit special interests and billionaires, all at the expense of working people. Those behind this case know that unions amplify workers’ voices and transform their words into powerful and collective action. Even though the Supreme Court sided with corporate CEOs and billionaires over working Americans, unions will continue to be the best vehicle on the path to the middle class.” - Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association (NEA)
“Fine arts programs were being cut from my school and students were missing out on subjects like arts and music. My union negotiated with the district to bring back music so our students could have a well-rounded curriculum. When some school principals tried to renege on the agreement, as a union, we stepped up. Educators came together through our union and spoke out for what our kids need. Strong unions build strong schools and strong communities. We need unions now more than ever.” - Alex Price, band director and instrumental music teacher, Belmont High School and Wright Brothers Middle School in Dayton, Ohio
“This decision is yet another example of how billionaires rig the system against working people, but SEIU members won’t let the extremists behind this case divide us. We will stay united, help workers who are fighting to form unions, and call on our elected leaders to do everything in their power to make it easier for working people to join together in unions.” - Mary Kay Henry, President, SEIU
Illinois Working Together Campaign Director Jake Lewis released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME:
“Bruce Rauner has made it crystal clear from Day One that his top priority as governor is to slash wages, undercut worker protections, and gut benefits by attacking the ability of working people to form strong unions.
“While Rauner may think today’s decision gets him closer to those ends, he and his special interest friends will never stop our movement to protect working families and build a strong middle class in Illinois.”
* Council 31…
AFSCME Council 31 response to US Supreme Court opinion
The United States Supreme Court ruled today against working people and in favor of billionaire CEOs and corporate interests in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, holding that requiring fair-share fees in the public sector violates the First Amendment of the Constitution.
“This case is a blatant political attack by Bruce Rauner and other wealthy interests on the freedom of working people to form strong unions,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “We are extremely disappointed the Supreme Court has taken the side of the powerful few, but we’re more determined than ever to keep our union strong, standing up for public services and the working people who provide them.”
Originally filed by the billionaire Republican governor Rauner, the case was taken up by the National Right-to-Work Foundation and the litigation arm of the Illinois Policy Institute, a Rauner-backed group whose national parent—the State Policy Network—said its intent in bringing the case was to “defund” the labor movement nationwide.
“No court case will prevent us from standing together in our union and speaking up for ourselves, our families and our communities,” said Stephen Mittons, a child protection investigator in Chicago.
“We know it’s through our union that we have the ability to stand up together for the fair pay and decent benefits that all working people deserve,” said Kristen Nolen, a public health worker in Springfield. “We’ll never quit, because we know that our state and our country need strong unions and working people need a strong voice.”
“The powerful interests behind this case have tens of millions of dollars to pour into their political agenda of trying to silence us. But we aren’t afraid and we aren’t going anywhere,” Council 31 Director Lynch said. “We’re making certain that every union member knows the real intent of this case is to defund unions, then drive down wages and benefits of public service workers. We’re not going to let that happen.”
* Rep. Skillicorn…
Today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling overturned a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court case, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. The decision favors plaintiff Mark Janus, a child support specialist from Illinois who argued that his union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), violated his First Amendment rights by engaging in political speech with which he did not agree.
According to research by the Illinois Policy Institute, the five major government unions in Illinois doled out a combined $46 million to political campaigns between 2002 and 2014. Making the biggest recipient of money confiscated from workers’ paychecks, politicians.
“Let me be crystal clear, this is about political special interests, not labor. Workers who wish to remain members of their union are unaffected by the ruling. This is a major victory for worker rights and democracy.” said Allen Skillicorn.
The time has come to ensure that this freedom is enshrined in law for workers in Illinois. Representative Allen Skillicorn’s Worker Freedom bills: HB673 and HB4419 allow employees to organize, negotiate, or bargain collectively with their employers through representatives of their own free choice, and protecting them should they choose not to.
Allen Skillicorn commented, “Union members should have a choice, everyone should have a choice. It’s the right thing to do.”
Terry O’Sullivan, General President of LIUNA – the Laborers’ International Union of North America – made the following statement today on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Janus v. AFSCME Council 31:
LIUNA proudly represents tens of thousands of dedicated, hard-working public employees who are undaunted by the Janus decision.
The Court has abandoned sound legal precedent and sided with anti-worker interests whose aim is to weaken unions by seeking to force unions and those who support us to bear the cost of representing free-riders. While the plaintiff’s backers claim this case is about “freedom of speech” nothing could be further from the truth. The Janus case represents an all-out attack on public sector unions meant to diminish the bargaining power of millions of public sector workers and divide us in the workplace.
Despite the cynical efforts of the anti-worker groups financing Janus, union membership has always and will always strengthen the middle class and help build our nation’s prosperity.
The strong, proud, and united members of LIUNA will continue to stand together and fight together to protect the wages, benefits, and working conditions that come with a union card.
* Chicago Fed…
Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter released the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision on Janus v AFSCME Council 31:
“Today the U.S. Supreme Court turned its back on working families across this country and sided with corporate billionaires with their ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case.
“This case was never about Mark Janus and what he believed was a violation of his First Amendment right to free speech. The Janus case is really about the super-rich attempting to dismantle what unions have won and continue to win for all working people. The interests behind the Janus case want to strip away working people’s freedom to join together in strong unions. Strong unions bring corporations to the table to bargain with workers for decent wages, affordable health benefits, safe worksites, time off to care for a loved one and dignity in retirement.
“This decision will not break the spirit of American workers, and it will not break the unions who defend them. Strong unions will continue to form in the workplace to fight for economic and social justice. Workers from coast to coast will continue to stand together in solidarity. We will continue to fight for a stronger America that values the work of all people, not just the elite few.”
* Kwame Raoul…
State Senator Kwame Raoul, candidate for Illinois Attorney General, issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. The court held today, 5-4, that public-sector employees who are not union members but who benefit from the union’s collective bargaining activities may no longer be required to pay fair-share fees to support those services.
Illinois working people are under attack, and their ability to take collective action is one of the last lines of defense against the erosion and deliberate undermining of adequate pay and protections. Today’s decision, enabled by Bruce Rauner and the powerful special interests that initiated and funded this lawsuit, aims another blow at workers standing together to bargain for better working conditions and stronger communities.
This ruling is also a reminder of the role Illinois’ attorney general can play in defending workers, even when they cannot count on protection from the federal government or the courts.
As the state’s top lawyer, I will aggressively enforce labor laws and defend the right to bargain collectively. I’ve spent my career advocating for working people, sponsoring and supporting legislation to raise the minimum wage, enforce equal pay, guarantee paid sick time, create a robust Worker Protection Unit in the Office of the Attorney General and protect survivors of domestic violence while they are at work. Illinois workers and their families can count on me to speak out for policies that empower them, while politicians from the White House to the Governor’s Mansion continue plotting against the economic security of the middle class.
Unions of working people secured many of the workplace protections that both union and non-union employees rely on today. The movement to weaken their collective voice is a threat to all Illinoisans going forward. Today’s decision puts the ball in our court to strengthen workers’ rights at the state level. I stand in solidarity with labor, and I’m ready to take on this fight as attorney general.
* Rep. Mitchell…
Today, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Janus in the workers’ rights case Janus v. AFSCME. In response, Representative Christian Mitchell released the following statement:
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME is a heartbreaking blow to all of the middle class, but to people of color in particular. Teachers, first responders, sanitation workers, and other frontline government employees have been the foundation of the oldest black middle class communities in the country, like Chatham in Chicago, because we never finished de-segregating the private sector. Black women especially have always been over represented in these unions, and the good wages and stability afforded to them have been the backbone of our neighborhoods. It is shameful that Governor Bruce Rauner continues to put his special interest agenda above the best interests of Illinois’ working families.”
STATEMENT FROM MAYOR EMANUEL ON SUPREME COURT JANUS DECISION
“This morning, the Supreme Court upended decades of precedent and progress for working families. I have worked closely with organized labor in stabilizing Chicago pension funds and employees’ retirement security, ensuring responsible wage growth and managing the cost of health care. From rank-and-file membership to leadership, I have always found a willingness to come to the table, roll up their sleeves and get the job done in a way that is responsible and respectful of taxpayer dollars. Governor Rauner and many Republicans are rejoicing at today’s decision, but we should be clear that this is no cause for celebration. This decision is an insult to the middle class and a step back for progress.”
Following is a statement from mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME.
“Every worker deserves the right to collectively bargain, to earn a living wage, and to be protected from harassment and abuse–but with this disastrous ruling, these fundamental rights are an even more distant dream.
“It’s also important to remember the heightened consequences of this decision for people of color and for women of color in particular, who face pervasive discrimination in the workplace ranging from sexual harassment to the wage gap.
“As mayor, I will stand with public sector unions and against the Trump administration to guarantee security and opportunity for every Chicagoan.”
U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME):
In Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner has made it clear that he favors corporations and special interests over Illinois workers and their families. He has repeatedly pushed an agenda of hostility to unions. This agenda is hurting workers across Illinois. And now, Governor Rauner has spearheaded a litigation effort, which has resulted in the Supreme Court overturning a 40-year-old precedent and further rigging the economy against hardworking Americans across the country.
This decision will drive down wages and reduce benefits – like health care and retirement – at a time when American workers are already struggling. I will keep fighting on behalf of families in Illinois and across the country for policies that create an economy that works for everyone.
This decision is a win for the First Amendment and the freedom of government employees to exercise their right to free association, rather than be forced to contribute to government unions that often refuse to represent their political views. Today, freedom and government workers won and triumphed against the powerful special interests.
Today, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) issued the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Janus v. AFSCME:
“I am deeply concerned that this decision will weaken our strong labor unions that have historically given our workers a safer work environment, fair wages, and collective bargaining rights against unfair working conditions. They hold a special place in our country’s history. This decision overturns decades of legal precedent that allowed unions to collect fair share fees for the services they are legally required to provide their workers. Our country was built on the hard work that so many Americans invested in our factories and offices. I’ll continue to fight for labor unions so we can build a strong middle class and make sure that workers have the collective bargaining rights they deserve.”
* Citizen Action/Illinois…
Citizen Action/Illinois Co-Director William McNary gave the following statement:
“This case, pushed by right-wing political interests, is intended to rob working people of their voice on the job. It’s nothing more than a naked attempt to gut the power of working people.
“But we know that in the fight for social justice, civil rights, gender equity and a fair economy, strong unions are more important than ever. Here in Illinois our elected officials must make it easier, not harder, for working people to have a voice through their union. We won’t let a rich and powerful few use this case to obscure the fact that we all do better when we all do better.”
Statement from Doug House, President of the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association
Regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Janus v. AFSCME Council 31
“If there is any doubt in the Republican-led claims that Bruce Rauner is worst GOP governor in the nation, today’s Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 decision fortifies that truth.
Working and middle-class Illinoisans have every right to be disgusted with Bruce Rauner and his feckless celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision to erode collective bargaining rights and drop incomes and wages to levels below the worker wastelands of places like Mississippi.
Bruce Rauner and the Republicans who have funded, supported and advocated to dismantle the rights of working people are driven by a personal greed and goal of total economic control. Any talk, suggestion or rhetoric implying that taxpayers and ordinary families are winners in this decision camouflages Bruce Rauner’s vile goals to further enrich himself by silencing the collective voice of dissent.
This Supreme Court was designed by elitist Republicans and their wealthy funders to be comprised of hyper-partisan activist judges. The Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 decision is one of the few reasons why the GOP-led U.S. Senate refused to give President Obama his constitutional right to appoint a Supreme Court justice.
Make no mistake, the motivations for this case are rapacious and the implications of this decision are serious. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. As a card-carrying union member for nearly three decades, I don’t accept the loss of worker dignity as one of casualties of today’s decision. The callous work of Bruce Rauner does more to mobilize ordinary, working people all over Illinois.
The IDCCA stands with organized labor because unions fight to ensure that economic opportunity is afforded to everyone who is willing to sweat and strive for it. Neither a court decision or a costumed, lame-duck governor can strip that away.”
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), released the following statement in response to the Janus v. ASFME decision, where the Supreme Court ruled that public sector unions’ long-held practice of collecting “fair share fees” for the services they are legally required to provide workers is unconstitutional:
“The Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court ruling just reversed four decades of precedent to undermine the freedom of our laborers, teachers, police officers, firefighters, factory and transportation workers, and more. Today’s flawed decision is just another example in a litany of instances where conservative judges, Republican elected officials, and their donors have attempted to rig the economy against hardworking Americans for the benefit of billionaires. By increasing the number of free riding workers, unions could be forced to drastically reduce their budgets, which in turn will weaken their ability to negotiate stronger contracts and defend the rights of American workers who deserve a fair wage and a fair workplace.
“As a proud Chicgoan, I understand the important role unions play in rebuilding and strengthening the shrinking middle class. I will continue to partner with my Democratic colleagues to defend unions and support legislative solutions that will guarantee that all public-sector workers have the freedom to stand together and negotiate for fair working conditions. Conservatives must stop attacking workers and start helping to create a system that benefits everyone. This must also include investing in the schools, public safety programs, and transportation systems that provide opportunity to our communities.”
Illinois Policy Institute CEO John Tillman released the following statement:
“Workers’ rights were restored today because of two people: Mark Janus and Bruce Rauner.
“First, I’d like to thank Gov. Bruce Rauner for having the vision, the leadership and the courage to initiate this case in 2015. He took tremendous risk and criticism for advancing the simple idea that workers should be free to define their relationship with a government union.
“Most importantly, I want to thank Mark Janus. Without a plaintiff, you have no case. We are very proud that Mark Janus chose our litigation team at the Liberty Justice Center to represent him. We thank Mark for his courage and for his commitment to worker freedom. Mark has earned the admiration of millions of people all over the country who simply wanted their free speech rights protected.”
* AG Madigan…
Attorney General Lisa Madigan issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case:
“Today’s Supreme Court ruling is a major attack on union representation in this country. Unions’ ability to organize and advocate on behalf of workers has been vital to creating and sustaining a strong middle class. The decision destroys the role government unions play in ensuring that workers, including millions of women and people of color, have a strong voice in their workplace. I will continue to stand with workers to support their rights.”
Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) released the following statement expressing his disappointment in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31 which weakens labor unions to the benefit of billionaires and corporations:
“This decision is the result of a concerted and corrupt effort by the wealthy and well-connected to divide hardworking people and make it more difficult for them to stand together as a union. Today’s ruling will do nothing but perpetuate a rigged economy that reduces the opportunities available to working-class Americans.
“I am appalled by this decision that upends over four decades of labor precedent and alters the freedoms and benefits that workers have enjoyed by collectively joining together and negotiating for better pay, better jobs, and — ultimately — a better future.
“While the Supreme Court has, once again, sided with the billionaire class and corporate CEOs, I continue to stand in steadfast support of the working men and women of our country and those in the 1st Congressional District of Illinois and completely support the freedom to join together for the good, union jobs our communities need.
“Unions have defined and built the America we know today. We should be working day and night to protect and improve the lives of all workers — whether or not they are members of a union. The work unions have done in organizing has ultimately raised wages, guaranteed access to healthcare, and strengthened our communities.
“It was fifty years ago that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood with striking Memphis sanitation workers demanding the freedom to join unions the night before he was killed. As he told the crowd that night, ‘Freedom is not something that is voluntarily given by the oppressor. It is something that must be demanded by the oppressed.’
“I want my constituents to know that I take that message to heart and I remain resolute in my commitment to fight for the needs of working Americans.”
Conservative gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann made the following statement:
This case is a clear attack on workers’ ability to stand up for better conditions at work, and it all started with Bruce Rauner, who was the original plaintiff in the case.
A true small-government conservative would never advocate for the government forcing a business to provide its services for free, but this just one piece of the anti-worker agenda that Bruce Rauner has used to hold Illinois hostage over the past four years.
Workers in Illinois are calling for a change from policies that weaken their voices at work and shrink their paychecks. Illinois’ working families are not the enemy, but the solution, and they can count on me to give them the respect they deserve.
Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey issued a statement after the ruling likening Emanuel, who was presiding over a City Council meeting, to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, a driving force behind the Janus case.
“Today we will see neoliberal Democratic Party political bosses like Rahm Emanuel shaking their fist at this decision, acting as if they have not been bipartisan partners in the erosion of workers’ rights, co-conspirators in the austerity movement and willing allies in the theft of job and retirement security,” Sharkey said.
“While today’s attack will hit all working families hard, in Chicago it will disproportionately hurt Black and Latinx households already reeling from the foreclosure crisis, cuts to social services, school closures, unrelenting violence and high unemployment. Rahm has done nothing to address the needs of these constituencies or these critical issues – or at least, nothing good.”
Today, Congressman Brad Schneider (IL-10), released the below statement on the 5-4 ruling of the Supreme Court in Janus v. AFSCME:
“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is an attack on the right of public sector workers to negotiate for decent pay and workplace protections. In their decision, the Justices brushed aside more than four decades of legal precedent and denied unions the ability to collect ‘fair share fees’ for the services and benefits they provide to all workers, regardless of union membership.
“Unions helped build our nation’s middle class, and today’s ruling fits a pattern of attacks to undermine labor and working families, and weaken workers’ right to negotiate for better pay, working conditions, medical benefits, retirement benefits, and paid leave. This is a sad day for hard-working Americans including teachers, firefighters, police officers, civil servants, and more – good people who serve our public every day.”
Statement from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle
On U.S. Supreme Court Decision in the Janus vs. AFSCME Case
The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Janus vs. AFSCME case today is the culmination of yet another partisan effort to weaken and undercut public employee unions. Janus was funded and supported by corporate interest groups that want to make it harder for workers to stand united. The decision means that public sector employees can now choose to not pay fair share dues to the unions that secure for them fair wages and safe working conditions. Collective bargaining remains important to the fabric of our nation’s working landscape and I will continue to support unions and the efforts undertaken to protect working families.
-Following is a statement from the Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus in response to the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 Supreme Court decision:
“The Supreme Court’s radical Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 decision today is a brazen, unprecedented effort to weaken the political power of the working class in this country and further rig the system on behalf of billionaires and big corporations. As elected leaders, we are firmly committed to continuing to stand up and fight back against the anti-worker agenda of Gov. Rauner and the Trump administration. We will always stand with the public employees keep our communities safe and healthy–and we will continue to defend workers’ right to organize, bargain collectively, and stand up to right wing attacks.”
State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) issued the following statement in response to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Mark Janus today, dealing a major blow to unions across the country:
“I had hoped that a conservative Supreme Court would hew to the bedrock conservative law and economics principles I learned at the University of Chicago Law School, but it would seem Bruce Rauner’s obsessive anti-union agenda has inspired them to liberal judicial activism.
“The law should not support economic “free riders”—those who benefit from services for which they do not pay. The Janus decision is an affront to that principle. It allows workers to reap the benefits of collective bargaining without paying for the efforts it takes.
“Republicans in Congress fought hard to delay hearings and deny Barack Obama his Supreme Court pick, and they were not disappointed today. It’s a shame that the U.S. Supreme Court is now, like Congress, just another appendage of the Trump White House. So much for the brilliant separation of powers the framers laid out in the Constitution.”
* Troy LaRaviere…
Today five right-wing activist appointees on U.S. Supreme court ruled that freeloaders could reap salary increases, health care coverage, and other benefits fought for by their unions without having to pay their fair share of the cost of union organizing. These judges falsely and misleadingly argued that workers should not have to pay dues to a union if they disagreed with the unions’ political speech. If these judges truly believed their own argument, then that same court might rule we don’t have to pay our taxes if we don’t agree with the poison that comes out of the mouth of the head of the executive branch of our government. Of course, they won’t. They won’t because speech has nothing to do with this decision. Their decision was a continuation of an assault on the working people of this country by billionaires and their enablers. It is my hope and belief that this case will be a lightning rod for working families to organize and make the enemies of working people deeply regret their decision to push the Janus case forward.