Something important happened inside the Supreme Court yesterday. But first, I want to talk about what happened outside.
Stephen Mittons, a child protective investigator, spoke to the crowd about how his union advocates for the resources he needs to keep Chicago’s most vulnerable children safe.
Dovard Howard, who makes sure his Southern California community has clean, safe drinking water, talked about his pride in protecting children’s health and in being a member of AFSCME Local 1902.
Watch the video!
As Stephen, Dovard, and dozens of other public employees were speaking on the steps of the Court about the vital role their unions play in helping them serve their communities, inside the nine justices were hearing arguments in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association.
You’ve probably heard about Friedrichs, but let me give you the quick background on the case. A group of plaintiffs, led by a group called the Center for Individual Rights, is hoping to silence the voices of millions of public service workers who seek to bargain for better pay, health and retirement benefits and job protections through their union.
Even though no one is forced to join a union, and union fees cannot be used on political activities, the Center for Individual Rights is targeting “fair share fees,” the fees that nonunion members pay to cover the cost of providing the benefits they still receive.
Listen, I don’t want to sugarcoat this. A lot is at stake here: the very work we do, the benefits we receive and the protections we rely upon. As I write this, right-wing activists are working on a campaign to convince union members to drop their union if we lose this case.
But I’m optimistic for one reason.
Even if the Supreme Court tries to divide us, AFSCME members will stick together because we know the value of coming together and bargaining for better pay and a safer workplace. You never quit on your communities, and your union will never quit fighting to defend and protect the critical jobs we do every single day.
You and I know rich and powerful people want to weaken our union. That’s why, no matter what the Supreme Court decides, we must continue to fight together.
Volunteer to talk with your co-workers about what’s at stake for our union and why standing together is so important.
Stephen and Dovard set an amazing example outside the Court yesterday just as you do in your communities every day. Join them in standing up for our right to a voice and power in the workplace and at the bargaining table. And together, we will always be strong.