Janus vs. AFSCME: An attack not just on labor unions, but on lower- and middle-income America
Editor’s note: Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs, issued the following statement Monday, Feb. 26 in response to oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court in Janus vs. AFSCME.
“Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could adversely affect millions of working Americans. At stake in Janus vs. AFSCME is the very ability of workers to join together in strong unions, organize for better conditions, and build and protect the middle class in the U.S. – the engine that fuels economic growth and the opportunity for all to advance.
“At a time when we need first responders and front-line workers more than ever, it is police officers, firefighters, teachers and nurses who will suffer most if the corporate interests that are backing this litigation prevail. Similarly important, caregivers serving seniors, children, and people with disabilities need the help of effective collective bargaining representation. And it is not just union members who will be harmed – workplace standards for millions more will be at risk. As our colleagues at the National Employment Law Project have noted, weakening unions hurts us all as a society; as union membership has declined, income inequality has risen.
“Instead of attacking American workers, we should be thinking of ways to strengthen workers and their routes to collective bargaining. We should be contemplating how to improve our schools and our health care system. We should be brainstorming how to best expand economic opportunities for lower- and middle-income workers. The last thing we should be going is limiting the ability of workers to organize for a stronger future.”