Monday February 26th the Supreme Court began hearing the case Mark Janus (scab) versus AFSCME (a national union of public sector workers).
The argument Mark Janus and his big money corporate backers are making is that public sector workers should be legally entitled to all the benefits of a union contract, but shouldn’t be obligated to pay a dime. Under current law in New York and many other states, workers who are covered by a collective bargaining agreement but want to be scabs still must pay a fair share fee to cover the costs associated with winning that contract.
Here’s the thing: the billionaires who are backing Mark Janus’s effort to damage public sector workers’ unions don’t realize it’s not going to stop us because we believe in working together. We know all the power we have together, and we know what we can win for our families and communities when we are in union.
If you believe in our work building working families and communities, sign a card recommitting to our union. Here is the card for members in the public sector (schools, towns, etc.), and here is the card for workers in the private sector.
With the current makeup of the Supreme Court, we can presume they will rule in a few weeks to allow free-riding scabs in the public sector. But that will not shake us. Our union is a family that sticks together, and we are growing stronger all the time.
To speak out and show our strength and commitment, members from Liverpool Central School District and Syracuse University graduate students forming their union now gathered in front of the transportation (school bus) center in Liverpool on the 26th.
Ray Knickerbocker, who works in the transportation department, said: “We rise today alongside Syracuse University grad students, who are non-union workers who want what we have: good, union jobs. No court case, no legislation, no propaganda campaign can stop us from sticking together. Our union here is a family, so we stick together no matter what. We are stronger together!”
The action in Liverpool was just one of hundreds of similar actions held by working people across the country (to see more, click here). All over, union members were joined by non-union workers who have been trying valiantly to form their own unions despite efforts to block them by the same anti-worker forces behind the Janus case.
Brandon Daniels, a Teaching Assistant at Syracuse University and member of the Syracuse Graduate Employees United/SEIU Local 200United organizing committee, said: “Graduate employees at Syracuse University stand in solidarity with public sector workers that are fighting to protect their collective bargaining rights. We recognize that an injury to one is an injury to all. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling, we will continue to organize our workplaces, both public and private, so that we can live a life with dignity and economic security.”
They were joined by Reverend Emily McNeill, Executive Director of the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State, who said: “The labor movement was built on people coming together and winning in the face of terrible odds. That same spirit is rising again all over this country from fast food workers demanding a living wage and union rights, to teachers on strike in West Virginia, to the thousands of public sector union members who are standing up all over this country today declaring that we will not be defeated. Our opponents are well-funded, but their vision is one based on greed and cynicism. We may not have their money but what we have are numbers and a better vision for what this country and this world could be. We see a future where everyone has access to a good living wage job, and where folks that aren’t able to work are taken care of. The winds are shifting in this country, and a better day is coming.”
Our fellow members and soon-to-be members vowed to stick together no matter the result of the Supreme Court case and fight for even more good, union jobs that can provide financial security for families, strengthen communities, and boost the economy. #WeRise