Nation reacts to Supreme Court ruling in favor of Janus

SHARE Nation reacts to Supreme Court ruling in favor of Janus

Supporters and opponents of the landmark Illinois case Janus v. AFSCME reacted to the Supreme Court ruling that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a serious financial blow to organized labor.

Here are some of those reactions:

Mark Janus

“I’m thrilled that the Supreme Court has restored not only my First Amendment rights, but the rights of millions of other government workers across the country. So many of us have been forced to pay for political speech and policy positions with which we disagree, just so we can keep our jobs. This is a victory for all of us. The right to say ‘no’ to a union is just as important as the right to say ‘yes.’ Finally our rights have been restored.”

Jacob Huebert, Janus’ attorney from the Liberty Justice Center

“This is the biggest victory for workers’ rights in a generation. The First Amendment guarantees each of us, as individuals, the right to choose which groups we will and won’t support with our money. Today the Supreme Court recognized that no one should be forced to give up that right just to be allowed to work in government. The Court recognized that unions have the right to organize and to advocate for the policies they believe in – but they don’t have a special right to force people to pay for their lobbying. They have to play by the same rules as everyone else.”

Gov. Bruce Rauner

“This ruling is pro-worker and pro-taxpayer. State employees – union and non-union – do tremendous work for the people of Illinois. This ruling is a great victory for our democracy, our public employees, and the taxpayers who count on us to bargain on their behalf. The significance of the court’s decision will be felt not just in Illinois, but across America. It is estimated that there are 5 million public employee union members in 22 states who could be affected by today’s ruling. I am proud of what we started three years ago on behalf of state employees and taxpayers. We are grateful to Mark Janus and the Liberty Justice Center for joining with me to bring this important issue to its rightful conclusion.”

President Donald Trump

AFSCME Council 31

“This case is a blatant political attack by Bruce Rauner and other wealthy interests on the freedom of working people to form strong unions,” AFSCME Council 31 Executive Director Roberta Lynch said. “We are extremely disappointed the Supreme Court has taken the side of the powerful few, but we’re more determined than ever to keep our union strong, standing up for public services and the working people who provide them.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel

“This morning, the Supreme Court upended decades of precedent and progress for working families. I have worked closely with organized labor in stabilizing Chicago pension funds and employees’ retirement security, ensuring responsible wage growth and managing the cost of health care. From rank-and-file membership to leadership, I have always found a willingness to come to the table, roll up their sleeves and get the job done in a way that is responsible and respectful of taxpayer dollars. Governor Rauner and many Republicans are rejoicing at today’s decision, but we should be clear that this is no cause for celebration. This decision is an insult to the middle class and a step back for progress.”

Sen. Dick Durbin

“In Illinois, Governor Bruce Rauner has made it clear that he favors corporations and special interests over Illinois workers and their families. He has repeatedly pushed an agenda of hostility to unions. This agenda is hurting workers across Illinois. And now, Governor Rauner has spearheaded a litigation effort, which has resulted in the Supreme Court overturning a 40-year-old precedent and further rigging the economy against hardworking Americans across the country.”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle

“The U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Janus vs. AFSCME case today is the culmination of yet another partisan effort to weaken and undercut public employee unions. Janus was funded and supported by corporate interest groups that want to make it harder for workers to stand united. The decision means that public sector employees can now choose to not pay fair share dues to the unions that secure for them fair wages and safe working conditions. Collective bargaining remains important to the fabric of our nation’s working landscape and I will continue to support unions and the efforts undertaken to protect working families.”

Sen. Tammy Duckworth

“As income inequality rises and middle-class wages lag behind, we need to do everything we can to make it easier for working Americans to join a union and negotiate for fair wages and a better workplace. Unfortunately, this decision by the Supreme Court will do the opposite, overturning decades of precedent to make it harder for unions to effectively protect and support working people trying to achieve their own American Dream. I’m disappointed that the Court sided with the anti-union activists and well-funded corporations who want to chip away at workers’ rights, but I will continue to stand up to those who want to lower wages, roll back workplace protections and restrict entry into America’s middle class.”

J.B. Pritzker

“I am appalled by today’s Supreme Court ruling on Janus v. AFSCME. While Bruce Rauner relentlessly pursued this special interest agenda, our state was decimated by his manufactured 736-day budget crisis. This is just another example of Rauner partnering with anti-worker special interest groups like the Illinois Policy Institute and the National Right to Work Foundation to pursue his own agenda over the best interests of working families. Illinois needs a governor who understands that unions built our middle class, not one who fights to undermine our workers at every turn. The fight is far from over and when I’m governor, Illinois’ working families will have a champion and an ally who will stand with them in the workplace and on the picket line.”

Chicago Federation of Labor

“The Janus case is really about the super-rich attempting to dismantle what unions have won and continue to win for all working people. The interests behind the Janus case want to strip away working people’s freedom to join together in strong unions. Strong unions bring corporations to the table to bargain with workers for decent wages, affordable health benefits, safe worksites, time off to care for a loved one and dignity in retirement. This decision will not break the spirit of American workers, and it will not break the unions who defend them. Strong unions will continue to form in the workplace to fight for economic and social justice. Workers from coast to coast will continue to stand together in solidarity. We will continue to fight for a stronger America that values the work of all people, not just the elite few.”

Chicago Teachers Union

“In Chicago, where union jobs have been the pathway to the middle class for women and Black and Latinx families, the attack on public employees is both sexist and racist. While today’s attack will hit all working families hard, in Chicago it will disproportionately hurt Black and Latinx households already reeling from the foreclosure crisis, cuts to social services, school closures, unrelenting violence and high unemployment. Rahm has done nothing to address the needs of these constituencies or these critical issues – or at least, nothing good.”

Illinois Working Together

“Bruce Rauner has made it crystal clear from Day One that his top priority as governor is to slash wages, undercut worker protections, and gut benefits by attacking the ability of working people to form strong unions. While Rauner may think today’s decision gets him closer to those ends, he and his special interest friends will never stop our movement to protect working families and build a strong middle class in Illinois.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders

“To nobody’s surprise the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, sided with big money interests and against the needs of working people. Make no mistake about it: this decision is a direct assault on working families all over America. What the Koch brothers and other billionaires understand is that if they can destroy the trade union movement in America, it will make it even more difficult for workers to earn decent wages and benefits. Further, as the political power of working people is diminished, it will be much easier for corporate America and the Trump Administration to dismantle Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration, the Postal Service, public education and virtually every law that has benefitted working people over the past 80 years. While today’s ruling is a major setback for working families, we must redouble our efforts to make it easier, not harder, to join a union. We cannot rebuild the disappearing middle class without revitalizing the trade union movement.”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi

“The Supreme Court’s radical ruling tramples over the freedom and basic rights of more than 17 million public workers. The Court’s decision to reverse decades of precedent will have drastic, destructive and long-lasting impacts on all hard-working Americans’ good-paying jobs, wages, health care, retirement and workplace conditions.

Rev. Al Sharpton

“This morning’s decision deals an existential blow to public-sector employees and the unions that fight for them. Fair share fees have never been about political activity. They’re about making sure workers – all workers – have the most effective and competent counsel possible when it comes to ensuring living wages. Instead, today, workers of all stripes have been once again beaten down by the highest court in the land in favor of billionaires and corporations.”

Rep. Mike Quigley

“The Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court ruling just reversed four decades of precedent to undermine the freedom of our laborers, teachers, police officers, firefighters, factory and transportation workers, and more. Today’s flawed decision is just another example in a litany of instances where conservative judges, Republican elected officials, and their donors have attempted to rig the economy against hardworking Americans for the benefit of billionaires. By increasing the number of free riding workers, unions could be forced to drastically reduce their budgets, which in turn will weaken their ability to negotiate stronger contracts and defend the rights of American workers who deserve a fair wage and a fair workplace.”

Rep. Representative Bobby Rush

“I am appalled by this decision that upends over four decades of labor precedent and alters the freedoms and benefits that workers have enjoyed by collectively joining together and negotiating for better pay, better jobs, and — ultimately — a better future.”

Congressman Brad Schneider

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is an attack on the right of public sector workers to negotiate for decent pay and workplace protections. In their decision, the Justices brushed aside more than four decades of legal precedent and denied unions the ability to collect ‘fair share fees’ for the services and benefits they provide to all workers, regardless of union membership.”

Comptroller Mendoza

“I am profoundly disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision. Union representation is a path to the middle class and ensures fair treatment for workers in Illinois and across the country. It’s not surprising, but it is shameful that Governor Rauner would cheer this attack on working people’s power to organize and advocate for themselves and their communities. His war on organized labor is a war on minorities and women who make up the bulk of union membership.”

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos

“Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling that puts billionaires and corporate special interests above hardworking Americans. Unions have always been at the tip of the spear in the fight for better wages, affordable healthcare and safe working conditions. We simply wouldn’t have a middle-class without the work of unions over generations. I know that we must strengthen, not weaken, the rights of working men and women to speak up together so that everyone has the opportunity to earn an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s work. Governor Rauner may have won this round against hardworking families across Illinois, but this fight is far from over.”

Congressman Bill Foster

“I am deeply concerned that this decision will weaken our strong labor unions that have historically given our workers a safer work environment, fair wages, and collective bargaining rights against unfair working conditions. They hold a special place in our country’s history. This decision overturns decades of legal precedent that allowed unions to collect fair share fees for the services they are legally required to provide their workers. Our country was built on the hard work that so many Americans invested in our factories and offices. I’ll continue to fight for labor unions so we can build a strong middle class and make sure that workers have the collective bargaining rights they deserve.”

Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs

“The Supreme Court turned its back on common sense today. Individuals who receive a service should pay for that service. The court ignored this basic concept to craft a legal argument for the sole purpose of undermining unions in the public sector.”

Josie Mooney, director of organizing for People’s Action

“The unconscionable decision today in Janus v. AFSCME highlights how wealthy special interests abuse the Supreme Court to keep workers trapped at the bottom. We know that by standing together we are stronger. Wealthy corporations and billionaires know that keeping us divided protects their own profits and power.”

Illinois Federation of Teachers

“Though not unexpected, it was incredibly disappointing to see powerful special interests take precedence over the best interests of middle-class Americans at the Supreme Court today. This case was a direct attack on working people and the causes we fight for every day – protections like health care, safe workplaces, and small class sizes.”

American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Right to Work

Service Employees International Union

Democracy for America

“Following yesterday’s partisan 5-4 decisions on Trump’s Muslim Ban and fake abortion clinics, the U.S. Supreme Court has once again revealed itself to be a tool of the fringe-right conservatives in Congress and the corporations, billionaires, and millionaires who control every single breath they take.”

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

“We appear to have reached a point where litigants appearing before the Supreme Court in certain matters can anticipate victory or defeat because of the identity of the parties, not the merits of the case. The solicitation of this case by one of the right-wing Justices, the special-interest-funded ‘faux litigation’ that brought it to the Court, and the special-interest-funded ‘amici’ who clamored for this result, all make the integrity of the Court look even worse. The predictability of these 5-4 partisan decisions by the Republican majority, and the alignment of the outcomes with the interests of the Republican donors, is a cancer on the credibility of the Court. Celebratory tweets by Republican political leaders embracing members of the Court provide a telling symbol of this breakdown.”

Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission Ajit Pai

Sen. Bob Casey

Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa

“When working people are united in a union, they have the power to raise wages, secure basic needs like healthcare coverage, improve their jobs and make life better for themselves and their families. Today’s Supreme Court decision sides with right-wing anti-worker forces to attack our basic rights, but we know that the labor movement is bigger than any right-wing court decision, bigger than any billionaire, or corporation. Our labor movement will never die because it is reborn every time a woman says no to sexual harassment in the workplace, every time a worker goes on strike, every time a worker demands dignity in the workplace and stands up for their rights.”


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