After a narrow majority ruled against working people in the Janus v. AFSCME case, we have come together to reject attacks on our rights by corporate interests and their allies in government. All working people deserve a chance to prosper on the job and beyond. Unions are the answer. Learn more at FreedomToJoin.org.
Here's what working people advocates from around the country are saying about Janus and the next steps we must take as working people.
Alaska AFL-CIO President Vince Beltrami:
Today, we commit to not only sustaining the labor movement, but building and strengthening it so more working people can negotiate a fair deal in return for their hard work. Despite this decision, Alaska’s unions will continue to lead the fight for a balanced economy that gives everyone a fair shot.
Allegheny–Fayette Central Labor Council President Darrin Kelly:
Today’s ruling by the US Supreme Court went against 40 years of legal precedent and obliterated current laws in nearly half the states in the nation. It is nothing more than a full-frontal assault on working families and the American middle class. For 150 years, wealthy special interest groups have been funding efforts like this with one objective in mind: disempower the American worker and keep wages low so the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the economic ladder of opportunity that built this nation, gets burnt to the ground. The unity of America’s working families has outlived these attacks for more than a century because our strength lies, not in our pocket books, but in our continuing belief in the promise of the American dream.
Corporate financed efforts to rig the system against working people simply remind us how important collective bargaining is. This decision only emboldens our commitment to our members, our message and America’s middle class. No Court case will ever destroy our movement.
California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
Never in its history has the court issued a ruling so clearly motivated by politics and outright disdainful of the constitutional tenets it has vowed to vigorously defend. Working families should never trust this court again....
No one court decision can stamp out decades of progress made by unions and our members. In the face of today’s decision, California’s unions are redoubling our efforts to remain a beacon of hope for a country sliding into plutocracy. We won’t settle for surviving this decision. We’ll continue to build strength to give all working people a fair shot at pursuing the American Dream.
Connecticut AFL-CIO President Lori Pelletier:
From brave first responders to dedicated public school teachers to life-saving nurses, our community is strong because of those who answer the call to public service. These public service workers are able to serve their communities better because they are union workers, and together as a union, they have the freedom to speak up together to help make our communities strong and safe.
The billionaires and corporate CEOs who supported the Janus case are attempting to divide working people and limit our power in numbers. They know that unions give workers a powerful voice in speaking up for themselves, their families, and their communities.
Florida AFL-CIO President Mike Williams:
Florida workers already understand the disastrous implications of the Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision. In right-to-work states like Florida, workers live this decision everyday through a system that not only undermines their freedom to have a voice on the job, but ensures that our state’s workers continue to be paid less, have less access to healthcare, and less opportunities to retire with dignity.
With this decision, SCOTUS has checked off another box on the wealthy special interest wish list. This ruling will continue our nation’s decades long race to the bottom for workers' rights, increase economic inequality, and make it even more difficult for America’s workers to make ends meet.
The Florida AFL-CIO with it’s over 1 million union members, retirees, and their families, will continue to stand together with Florida’s working people who, even when the decks are stacked against them, will continue to join together in unions and fight for a stronger, fairer America.”
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Rusty Hicks:
Today, Trump’s Supreme Court made a decision big employers hope will weaken our unions. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor has news for them. When workers can choose—without fear or threat—to either stay in their union or leave it, they will choose to earn higher wages, protect their benefits and keep their workplaces safer. Those realities will overpower those who believe working people are worth less.
To our adversaries we say be careful what you ask for—when we fight, we win.
Maine AFL-CIO President Cynthia Phinney:
Every day, right here in Maine, workers continue to stand together in their unions to demand fairness and fight for a better future for our families. Millions of other workers around the country aspire to improve their wages and working conditions and to have a voice on the job....
We have never depended on any politician or judge to decide our fate and we aren’t about to start now. We will continue to fight for the rights of all working people to have the freedom to join a union and bargain for a better life. We will continue to stick together in our unions and as the labor movement to build a better future for our communities, our country and all working people.
Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber:
As billionaires and corporate special interests seek to further rig our economy against working people across the country, this is the latest attempt to take away our rights to join together in unions. It is a shame that these special interests have manipulated the Supreme Court to further their harmful agenda.
This decision comes at a point in time when thousands of Michigan workers are recommitting to join unions and are launching new organizing drives, and as support for labor unions has risen to its highest level in years. Indeed, Michigan added 52,000 new union members in 2017—the biggest annual jump in union membership in Michigan in over a decade. Even more importantly, it means there are now more union members in Michigan than there were in 2012—the year Gov. Rick Snyder signed right-to-work legislation into law.
So we have faced these attacks before and we have weathered the storm well. The labor movement remains a strong and vibrant force for working people and will continue fighting to sustain our families, improve our workplaces and make our communities stronger regardless of the court’s ruling.
Minnesota AFL-CIO President Bill McCarthy:
No court decision will ever stop working people from joining together in union to negotiate a fair return on their work. No matter how many roadblocks corporate special interests put in our path, our state’s labor movement will continue to fight for working Minnesotans’ freedom to prosper.
Nevada State AFL-CIO Executive Secretary-Treasurer Rusty McAllister:
The Supreme Court’s ruling this morning is an assault on the working people of America by corporate interests who fear their collective power. The Nevada State AFL-CIO and our local union leaders will continue to fight for, serve and protect our 150,000 members against any force that seeks to undermine or work against them.
New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento:
Improving the lives of all working men and women is what defines us, not one court case.
The Janus v. AFSCME case has always been a thinly veiled attack on the rights of all working people to join together and speak with one voice.
New York’s labor movement, with 2.5 million members, will remain strong. In fact, today’s decision will only make us stronger and more determined to fight for better wages, benefits and conditions of employment, as well as for a brighter future for all workers and their families.
Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga:
This decision comes just as millions of workers across the country are recommitting to unions with new organizing drives and growing ranks in important sectors of our economy right here in Ohio. Public support for labor unions has risen to its highest level in years.
The billionaires and corporate special interests that have manipulated our system of justice have succeeded in getting the highest court in the land to do their bidding. The labor movement, however, remains undeterred.
We have faced similar attacks in Ohio and ultimately prevailed. Powered by our membership and carried by the expressed support of a vast majority of Ohioans, labor unions will continue to fight to sustain our families, improve our workplaces and make our communities stronger regardless of the court’s ruling.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision furthers this administration’s agenda of putting corporate interest over working families. This case is a multi-million dollar effort to rig the economy benefiting a select few.
While this decision negatively impacts working families, the OCLF will continue to be a strong force in Orange County, standing up to those in power who have rigged the economy against working people. When unions are strong, Orange County is strong. We won’t allow a court decision to stand in the way of our fight for good jobs, fair pay and dignity at work.
Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain:
While the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a long-expected decision in the Janus case that was backed by anti-worker forces, Oregon union members remain dedicated to sticking together, uniting more working people in unions and working with our state’s political leaders to create more good, union jobs.
Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale:
Businesses are not mandated to give away goods and services free of charge to whomever walks through their door. But labor unions are legally required to represent every working person in a workplace, regardless of their membership-status. Every worker benefits from the terms of the union contract, and fair share fees cover the cost of that representation and negotiation. We know that union contracts lift up wages and improve conditions for all workers. The dark money that has bankrolled this case and subsequent decision, will not sway us from fighting for economic dignity and the rights working people deserve.
Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO President Pat Eiding:
The labor movement stretches back centuries in this country and stretches out beyond the borders of our nation as well. Working women and men in past generations faced the greatest imaginable challenges when they stood together for their interests: armed company goons, sometimes working with the support of state or local governments; courts that refused to recognize the legitimacy of labor unions; an unsympathetic media. Nevertheless, working people persisted. We stood together against every challenge and built vibrant, diverse, democratic labor unions, and those unions in turn lifted tens of millions of American workers out of poverty and into dignity. We are the engine of the most productive economy in the world. We built this country’s middle class.
So, while I am gravely disappointed in the 5-4 decision in the Janus case, I am not worried about our labor movement. Working people will continue to stand together, to organize democratically, and to stand up to massive corporations and to the privileged and powerful. History is on our side. And despite the opinion of 5 justices in Washington, our solidarity remains unbroken.
Sacramento Central Labor Council Executive Director Fabrizio Sasso:
While there is no doubt that this decision will make it more difficult for working people to exercise our freedom to join together, we will not allow it to stand in our way as we continue our fight for good jobs, safe workplaces, equal pay for women, fair treatment of immigrants and dignity at work for everyone. Nor will it stamp out the decades of progress made by hard working Americans who fought for the freedoms we still enjoy.
The labor movement marches forward with the same commitment and a renewed vigor to stand together for all working people. Despite the deep pockets of wealthy corporations, billionaires and wealthy elites’ ability to influence the Supreme Court’s decision, Sacramento’s unions will continue to lead the fight for a balanced economy that gives everyone a fair shot at the American Dream.
Texas AFL-CIO President Rick Levy and Texas AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Montserrat Garibay:
In Texas, we battle to raise wages, enact paid sick leave and other benefits, make jobs safer, ensure civil rights, and expand opportunity for all working families. We fight immigrant-bashing, voter suppression, moves to privatize our neighborhood schools, and assaults on the freedom of working people to speak up to improve their lives.
Organizing is on the rise, in Texas and in the nation. Public approval of unions is up. A growing percentage of young working people, women and people of color see unions as a ticket to the middle class. Teachers are striking to do right by their students.
Reject the dark web of corporate interests that produced Janus and join us in the fight. Texas unions stand for the antidote to the status quo: a fair shot for all working families.
Utah AFL-CIO President Jeff Worthington:
Those that funded the Janus case are hailing the SCOTUS decision as a great victory and end of unions. They will be disappointed. Unions are alive and well in Utah and across the nation. We will continue to thrive and prosper. Utah unions from the public sector and trades along with the Utah AFL-CIO have united together in solidarity to protect employee rights, safeguard working families, and push back against attacks from those that would demonize the good that unions do in our communities.
We've been here for over a hundred years; we look forward to being even stronger for another century.
Washington State Labor Council President Jeff Johnson and Washington State Labor Council Secretary Treasurer Lynne Dodson:
Now more than ever, working people understand that they need unions and strength in numbers to fight for a balanced economy. This is particularly true for our proud public employees. These are our family members, friends and neighbors. They teach our children, care for the sick and elderly, keep our communities safe, maintain our roads, and provide many other essential public services. They know they need strong unions, not just because it makes life better for themselves and their families, but also so they can advocate for their students, their patients, and the public they serve....
No court decision will stop us from fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, affordable health care, and dignity at work for everyone. Today, we recommit not only to sustaining Washington's labor movement, but to building a stronger one. In this economy, working people must stick together in strong unions to demand better wages and benefits. The unions of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO will redouble efforts to guarantee the freedom to join, stand and negotiate together.
Wisconsin State AFL-CIO President Phil Neuenfeldt:
While billionaires and the corporate interests behind the Janus case use their power and wealth to continue to rig our economy against working people, workers are busy building a movement to rewrite the rules of our economy to create broadly shared prosperity. Workers are on the rise and the Supreme Court can’t stop us. At a time when our democracy and economy are rigged to overwhelmingly favor the wealthy, America needs unions now more than ever so our middle class can thrive.