Speech | Right to Work · Labor Law

Trumka: Janus Will Be a Footnote

Washington, D.C.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka delivered the following remarks at a press conference with House and Senate Democrats highlighting their "Better Deal" labor law reform proposals:

Good morning.

I want to thank Leader Pelosi, Leader Schumer and all the pro-worker elected officials who have joined us here today.

I also want to thank my fellow labor leaders who continue to show poise and grace while under relentless attack.

And finally, I want to recognize all the union members—present and future—who inspire us to keep fighting every single day.

Obviously, we are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME.

A narrow five-justice majority, emboldened by a stolen seat, overturned four decades of common sense precedent.

It’s the latest misguided action by the most corporate-friendly Court in our history.

But make no mistake I stand before you as optimistic as ever. And this is coming from a guy who just got his 50-year union pin.

The labor movement has never depended on any politician or judge to decide our fate and we aren’t about to start now.

In the end, Janus will be a footnote. This moment in history is being defined by our organizing.

Something is happening in America. It’s beautiful. It’s real. And it can’t be contained by 5 justices or 51 Republican senators or even the president of the United States.

All over the country, workers are organizing and striking as we haven’t seen in years.

15,000 workers joined or formed unions in a single week this April.

That’s on top of the 262,000 new members who joined our ranks last year—75 percent of them under the age of 35.

And this is despite the fact that too many of our labor laws have been written to undermine the freedom to organize.

New research from MIT shows a 50 percent increase in the number of non-union workers who would vote to join a union today.

Tens of millions of workers are ready to experience the transformational power of collective bargaining.

And in many cases, all that stands in the way is a rigged system.

The “Better Deal” labor law reform bills introduced by House and Senate Democrats...the Workers Freedom to Negotiate Act and the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act...are a major step in the right direction

They would strengthen the freedom to organize by expanding the law so millions of additional workers can access collective bargaining…remove substantial chunks of the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act…and make the process for forming a union and reaching a first contract fairer.

We are proud to endorse these bills.

And any candidate who wants the support of working people must do the same.

Let me be clear: The Supreme Court is on the wrong side of history.

What they did flies in the face of where workers want to go and need to go. 

It shows just how out of touch they are with our country. 

Janus or no Janus…workers are demanding a voice.

We are standing up and speaking out for a better life.

We are demanding a fair share of the wealth we help create.

We are marching and organizing and bargaining.

And we simply will not allow a corporate-controlled Supreme Court to stop us from doing our job.

Thank you again for putting forward this “Better Deal.”

We look forward to helping you pass it into law.

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