Janus v. AFSCME is a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. It will impact the power of public employees to keep their health insurance, pensions, and other rights and benefits. It will affect our ability to deal with workplace issues such as working conditions, staffing, and unfair discipline. It is being pushed by Governor Bruce Rauner and corporate executives who want to weaken unions formed by public employees.
When the Supreme Court rules on the Janus case next spring, it is expected that they will say that public employees may no longer bargain for contracts that require all workers to pay their fair share of representation costs. Once the court has ruled, only union members will have to support the union financially, but the union will be required to provide representation to all employees whether they belong to the union or not.
The ruling will hurt all workers, union-members and non-members alike. The Rauner-funded Illinois Policy Institute which is promoting the Janus case is on record saying that public employees are over-paid, and that public employees’ health insurance and retirement benefits should be reduced. Corporations and the wealthy don’t want to pay their fair share in taxes. They want to cut public services and the wages and benefits of public workers. They want to break our union as their first step in cutting our pay and benefits.
We should expect the majority of the Supreme Court to rule against workers on this as they have all made their position on this issue clear. They will rule sometime between March and June of 2018. We must act now. Workers who don’t understand what they will lose will drop out of the union. Workers will lose representation, benefits, and pay because their union will be much weaker or in some cases will go out of existence completely.
We must get stronger and play an active role in our union. We have to:
- make sure all our co-workers know that our power to win depends on sticking together.
- make sure all those who currently are “fair share” payers sign a card and join our union.
Every member needs to recommit to the union by signing a new card and committing to support the union no matter what the Supreme Court does.
We have produced a leaflet that can help guide our conversations about the case with fellow workers. Click the link below to access the resource: