We have heard that the Supreme Court of the United States will be deciding the Janus V. AFSCME case as soon as next month. When the Friedrichs case of a few years ago got the ball rolling towards a national “right to work” law, we understood it was going to be a long battle. We as public sector workers had a short-lived reprieve, but we knew that the anti-union big business forces would be back.
As expected, Janus made a fast track to the Supreme Court. At the heart of the case, we find the same familiar crowd of billionaires and Fortune 500 companies that would like nothing more than to reduce the power of unions and working peoples’ voices. Their driving force is motivated by their desire to reduce wages, benefits, and pensions of public sector workers, so large corporations don’t have to compete by offering the same.
Even a fifth grader understands it is morally wrong to allow any member in an organization to expect benefits from that organization without paying his or her fair share. But the Janus backers doesn’t care!
The sad truth is that without our public sector unions in this country, the size of our middle class would be at or near the levels of the Gilded Age and the industrial revolution of the late nineteenth century. Over the last century, many brave union brothers and sisters fought with everything they had to achieve the level of pay, benefits, and safety on the job that we still have today. It won’t be easy, but we owe it to our families and our predecessors to continue the good fight!
–Jeff R. Torres, IBEW Local 1245 Volunteer Organizing Committee member, City of Redding Electric Utility