U. S. Supreme Court Poised to Deal Crippling Blow to Public Sector Unions

JAL_IntouchFour years and one day after delivering the more than 1.2 million petition signatures that successfully repealed SB5, Ohio’s “right-to-work” is wrong law, we are now facing the threat of a national “right-­to-­work” law.

The U.S. Supreme Court just agreed to take up a case that may overturn more than 40 years of settled labor law regarding public sector unions. That decision could come as early as next spring.

Our union has been out front in preparing for this attack in two ways. First, with AFSCME Strong,  a bold vision of building a strong union of committed members; a union that has power on the shop floor, at the bargaining table and at the state legislature. It’s building a union that 100% of our members will be loyal to.

And second, by forming alliances with other unions and affected constituency groups. Below, you will find the full text of a joint statement by AFSCME International President Lee Saunders and the nation’s top union leaders.

Please take a moment to read the statement and educate yourself about the task ahead. Then, click here to visit AFSCME Strong and see how you can join the fight.

PUBLIC SERVICE WORKERS ON SUPREME COURT

GRANT OF CERT IN FRIEDRICHS V. CTA

Lawsuit Seeks to Curtail Freedom of Firefighters, Teachers, Nurses, First ­Responders to Stick Together and Advocate for Better Public Services, Better Communities

Jeopardizes American Promise that Hard Work Leads Families to a Decent Life

WASHINGTON—NEA President Lily Eskelsen García, AFT President Randi Weingarten, CTA President Eric C. Heins, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, and SEIU President Mary Kay Henry issued the following joint statement today in response to U.S. Supreme Court granting cert to Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association:

“We are disappointed that at a time when big corporations and the wealthy few are rewriting the rules in their favor, knocking American families and our entire economy off­balance, the Supreme Court has chosen to take a case that threatens the fundamental promise of America—that if you work hard and play by the rules you should be able to provide for your family and live a decent life.

“The Supreme Court is revisiting decisions that have made it possible for people to stick together for a voice at work and in their communities—decisions that have stood for more than 35 years—and that have allowed people to work together for better public services and vibrant communities.

“When people come together in a union, they can help make sure that our communities have jobs that support our families. It means teachers can stand up for their students. First responders can push for critical equipment to protect us. And social workers can advocate effectively for children’s safety.

“America can’t build a strong future if people can’t come together to improve their work and their families’ futures. Moms and dads across the country have been standing up in the thousands to call for higher wages and unions. We hope the Supreme Court heeds their voices.”

And public servants are speaking out, too, about how Friedrichs v. CTA would undermine their ability to provide vital services the public depends on. In their own words:

“As a school campus monitor, my job is to be on the front lines to make sure our students are safe. Both parents and students count on me—it’s a responsibility that I take very seriously. It’s important for me to have the right to voice concerns over anything that might impede the safety of my students, and jeopardizing my ability to speak up for them is a risk for everyone.”

—Carol Peek, a school campus security guard from Ventura, Calif.

“I love my students, and I want them to have everything they need to get a high-­quality public education. When educators come together, we can speak with the district about class size, about adequate staffing, about the need for counselors, nurses, media specialists and librarians in schools.

And we can advocate for better practices that serve our kids. With that collective voice, we can have conversations with the district that we probably wouldn’t be able to have otherwise ­ and do it while engaging our communities, our parents and our students.”

—Kimberly Colbert, a classroom teacher from St. Paul, Minn.

“As a mental health worker, my colleagues and I see clients who are getting younger and more physical. Every day we do our best work to serve them and keep them safe, but the risk of injury and attack is a sad, scary reality of the job. But if my coworkers and I come together and have a collective voice on the job, we can advocate for better patient care, better training and equipment, and safe staffing levels.

This is about all of us. We all deserve safety and dignity on the job, because we work incredibly hard every day and it’s certainly not glamorous.”

—Kelly Druskis­Abreu, a mental health worker from Worcester, Mass.

“Our number one job is to protect at-­risk children. Working together, front-­line social workers and investigators have raised standards and improved policies that keep kids safe from abuse and neglect. I can’t understand why the Supreme Court would consider a case that could make it harder for us to advocate for the children and families we serve—this work is just too important.”

—Ethel Everett, a child protection worker from Springfield, Mass.

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