Janus vs. AFSCME
What is Janus vs AFSCME?
Janus vs. AFSCME is a case to rig the system against working people. Janus (just as the case in Friedrichs v. CTA) is the culmination of decades of attacks on working people by corporate CEOs, the wealthiest 1% and the politicians that do their bidding to rig the economy in their favor. The forces behind this case are the same forces that have pushed for limiting voting rights, attacked immigrants, and undermined civil right protections. These greedy CEOs and special interests dont want educators to have a seat at the table to advocate for better schools and the resources their students need.
How will Janus affect educators and working people?
- Further rig the economy against working people
-Limit the freedom of workers to join strong unions
-Give more power to corporate special interests and CEOs
-Further increase income inequality in our communities
-Hurt our educators' ability to make schools better
Who is behind this case?
The National Right to Work Foundation is backing this case. The group is part of a network of extremists funded by corporate CEO's to use the US legal system to rig the rules against everyday working people. Their goal with Janus is no secret: they want to use the Supreme Court to take away the freedom of working people to join in strong unions, because unions give workers a powerful voice in speaking up for themselves, their families and their communities. Unions have played a critical role in building and protecting the middle class in America. They provide hard working people economic stability for their families and give them the tools to build a good life, home and education for themselves and their children.
What are FairShare Fees, and what is "Right-to-Work"?
Under the law, labor unions are required to represent and bargain for EVERYONE in the workplace, whether they are union members or not. Union members pay dues. Non-members pay fair share fees to cover the cost of unions representing them and they get the same benefits under the contract that members do. If the Supreme Court rules against unions in the Janus v. AFSCME case, the whole country would become "Right-to-Work", which means fair share fees would be eliminated. That means UTR members' dues would suddenly be paying for benefits for non-members, and our resources and power would fall at the same time.
What happens if the Supreme Court Rules against unions?
The anti-union billionaires that brought us the Janus v AFSCME case wont stop there. Once the case is law, a multi-million dollar campaign will be launched by these anti-union forces to try to convince union members to drop their membership too.
What they won't tell union members is that if their plan works, unions won't have the funding to stay afloat to provide "free" services for long. Their end game is to crush public sector unions and their political influence so that they can usher in an era of pension "reform", privatize services, run anti-worker candidates unchecked, and so on.
This is part of corporate interests' bigger agenda to weaken unions, ban collective bargaining for public employees, and take away our politiccal voice so they can usher in anti-worker politicians who do their bidding.
Will this ruling affect our contract bargaining?
Not right away. But the Janus case could really hurt our bargaining power the next time a contract fight comes up. That's why we need to educate and have conversations with our coworkers before that case comes down.
Their people are going to be knocking on our doors after the Janus ruling urging us to drop our membership, and we will end up losing members if we aren't prepared.
In places where unions are weak, a common tactic employers will use is to say "Only 40% of the employees are union members. Because you only represent 40% of the employees here, you'll only get 40% of what you ask for." This applies to whether you're asking for in a raise, changes in your contract language, or forcing us to give more to our pension contributions.
How has "Right-to-Work" affected other states?
We've seen the effects of "Right-to-Work" on workers and their unions in other states like Wisconsin where workers were not ready for the attacks. Union contracts were reduced from 333 page documents that covered wages, working conditions, health and safety, discrimination, and other clauses, to an abysmal 5-page document. You can view the incredibly jarring before and after below. The 328-page contract difference came only four years after Act 10 was passed in 2010.
AFSCME Council 24 2008-2009 MOU (Pre-Act 10 and "Right-to-Work" law)
AFSCME Council 24 2014 MOU (Post-Act 10 and "Right-to-Work law)
For more information please visit www.neatoday.org/janus/#about-the-case
*Information gathered from the California Teachers Association and IFPTE Local 21