The Janus v. AFSCME case is the latest attack by corporate interests to weaken collective bargaining power for workers to negotiate higher wages, stronger benefits, and protections for workers and those we serve.
Until now, public employee workers who didn’t want to be full members of their union could pay “fair share” fees to help fund only the bargaining and representation work the union does. That gave employees a choice while also keeping everyone in a workplace united and protected.
Now, the court has ruled that those workers can “opt out” of paying any union dues…while still receiving full benefits and representation.
What does this mean for unions?
This ruling will make it harder for public sector unions to operate effectively and efficiently. Dues give unions the resources to build member strength in our workplaces through representation, leadership development, organizing, and negotiations to improve our pay, benefits and working conditions. Dues also fund campaigns that help more workers join our union and raise industry standards for all workers.
Why was this case being heard?
The Koch brothers and a network of corporate billionaires are attempting to use the courts to weaken the power of workers to unite and negotiate from a position of power. They know that the more union members there are, the stronger we are—which they feel threatens their profits.
One particularly active anti-worker group, the Freedom Foundation, has worked to chip away at the progress our unions and members have achieved together.
What’s coming next?
SEIU members are bound and determined to stick together in our union, no matter what. We’re not going to let any court case stop us from fighting for the good, union jobs our communities need. Our members are committing to sticking together, and we’re preparing for the attacks on our rights that we know are coming. In a fundraising letter last year, the Freedom Foundation wrote:
“…we know the unions won’t go away without a fight. They won’t go away even with a fight. They won’t go away until we drive the proverbial stake through their hearts and finish them off for good.”
SEIU 49 members can proactively prepare to fight back against these attacks.
- First, commit to sticking with our union by signing a new membership form. If you haven’t signed a recommit form, contact a steward or other union leader today.
- Next, stay informed by signing up to receive email and text messages from our union.
- Follow our union on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and check our website regularly for updates.