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Janus v. AFSCME: the latest attack on unions, and how we can win

BrendaFields-RandRThe U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Janus v. AFSCME as early as next spring. This law will dismantle the labor movement in our country.

For decades, the courts have followed a simple principle: if you’re a government employee covered by a union contract, but you don’t join the union, you have to pay a fair share fee for the benefits of the contract. No one gets a free ride.

If the Supreme Court rules against unions in Janus v. AFSCME, these fair share fees would become illegal for government employees, and they could get all the benefits of a union contract without contributing.

As a healthcare worker and elected Executive Board member,  I want to be clear about what the anti-worker extremists are trying to do to us with this lawsuit. This Janus lawsuit is intended to fatally weaken unions and make it harder for workers to win good contracts. They want to divide us, make it harder to pool our resources, and limit our collective power. By weakening unions, they aim to concentrate power and wealth in the hands of the wealthiest Americans.

We know when we stick together in a union, we can raise wages and improve benefits and also raise standards across the healthcare industry for our patients. Waiting to take action until after the Court’s decision is too late. By re-committing to unity in our union today, we can fight for what’s fair… and we can win. Here’s what you can do:

  • Re-commit and Re-sign every member in every facility: When all union members sign new union cards, we send a strong message that we are united and committed to improving our workplaces for the people we care for.
  • Embrace every new worker: Let’s make sure everyone understands that their union contract protects their rights, guaranteed raises, and provides valuable resources if problems arise.
  • Make our laws reflect our priorities: Anti-worker politicians want to weaken our power to improve jobs and the care we provide. We need to learn where the candidates stand, and support elected leaders like Governor Tom Wolf and Senator Bob Casey who stick up for healthcare workers.

Brenda Fields
Unit Secretary, Washington Hospital

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