Janus and the Future

The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to public sector unions today in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees by forcing them to service members who do not have to pay their fair share of fees for the services they receive.

Hi,

My thoughts below on today’s Supreme Court ruling:
The Supreme Court dealt a major blow to public sector unions today in the case of Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees by forcing them to service members who do not have to pay their fair share of fees for the services they receive.

The decision has been expected for two years. In 2016, when a similar decision was expected, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died and it seemed President Obama had an opportunity to shift the court to the left. However, his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, who had a good labor record, was not even given a hearing by the Republican-controlled Senate.

While some will say eliminating the cost of public sector workers is necessary to not cut other programs nor make taxes excessively high, the tax structure should not be designed to overly burden the working and middle class while the upper class can afford new taxes.

Janus is the latest in a long series of defeats for the labor movement.

Public employee unions have been on the defensive for a long time.  Private sector unions have already been largely decimated with the except of Building Trades unions in the construction industry.

Labor unions were under attack under Obama on the state level most notably in Wisconsin under Scott Walker but also in several states which became Right to Work became law under which it is not necessary to join a union and thereby becoming a free rider.

On the federal level, conservative opposition blocked a number of labor reforms in Congress. Obama was also the only Democratic President to not have raised the minimum wage. Even George W. Bush raised the minimum wage once it was passed by a Democratic Congress.

In addition, some of the few reforms Obama was able to enact via regulation are being undone by Trump or struck down by reactionary judges interpreting the law for their own ends.

And while unemployment is down, a third of the country is working two jobs to survive due to the uneven economic recovery.

This is what happens when you have a reactionary billionaire class subverting democracy and a crook desecrating the White House.

Labor unions at their height raised the American standard of living to the highest in the world, served as a pillar of the Democratic Party, and funded several progressive causes, including the Civil Rights movement. With their decline, wages are stagnant and we have a generation that will deal with the negative effects of fewer economic opportunities for decades to come.

What is to be done?

It is important to vote of course and call your elected officials to urge them to support you. Donating money allows one more access to politicians and thereby giving advocates the best place to make their case. Advocacy is most effective when sympathetic politicians are already in office and public opinion is on your side.

But quite often the public is divided on an issue and politicians think that being moderate will sway sufficient voters when they are up for re-election.

What has been consistently effective is mass protest, especially when it is disruptive. An example in recent memory would be the airport protest against Trump’s travel ban where massive crowds and cab drivers refused to drive passengers to the airport led to a judge ruling against the ban.

Or think of Rosa Parks defying Jim Crow laws. Her effort sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and its victory which in turn sparked the battles and victories won by the Civil Rights movement which often used civil disobedience to ignite passion in the hearts of people which ultimately helped push the legislation through.

Civil disobedience is where you turn when the government no longer represents you and when you cannot match the money or the insider influence of the other side. And that is where unions and their allies must turn now in the fight for economic justice.

It was through the sit-down strikes led by Auto Workers in Flint which sparked strikes through the country and gave the union the position to make a deal that ultimately raised the living standard for millions in the United States.

It is to civil disobedience that union and their allies need to turn. Mass, disruptive has proven exceedingly effective in red states like West Virginia and Oklahoma where one would not expect unions to win.

In the majority opinion, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. wrote that “agency fees cannot be upheld on the ground that they promote an interest in ‘labor peace.’” “Labor peace” is the idea that unions keep workers operating in a docile fashion and avoid unnecessary strikes that disrupt business. We have had “labor peace” for far too long at the expense of everyone who needs to earn a paycheck for far too long.

 

Thank you for reading.

In solidarity,

 

Dan

 

Daniel L. Ulloa

President

American Workforce Association

(908) 421-1422

Americanworkforce1@gmail.com

Americanworkforce.net

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Progress and Strike

Hello All!

I hope everyone is managing the best they can with this crazy weather!

We are making progress one step at a time! We have been connecting with a variety of progressive organizations such as Our Revolution, as well as meeting with lawyers who can provide free consultations to individuals who have encountered labor problems at work.

Our next meeting is Thursday, April 19th at 7 pm at 7 Silvester Ct., East Brunswick, NJ 08816. We plan to discuss narrowing our focus from the broad idea of “struggling workers and 1099 independent contractors” to a more specific sector where we can make inroads and, consequently, more progress.

In addition, we plan to hold a strategic planning session and a SWOT analysis where we will formalize our mission and assess the assets and liabilities of our organization. All are welcome and encouraged to attend (and bring friends)!

Please RSVP here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/107921590052231/

If you can’t make it in-person, use the link below to conference in:

https://zoom.us/j/162124938

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IN OTHER NEWS: Following the teachers strike in West Virginia, a strike has begun in Oklahoma where teachers and their allies have occupied the state capitol building. They have refused to back down until their demands are fully met.

Oklahoma has severely cut its public education budget for years while lowering its tax on oil companies. This has resulted not only in low salaries but in crumbling educational conditions such as lack of textbooks, seats, pencils, paper, and scissors. The cuts have been so deep, in fact, that many schools now only operate four days per week. The low salaries for teachers there have forced many to leave the state. Teachers in Oklahoma are the worst paid in the country.

Currently, in Kentucky, teachers in eight school districts have gone on strike as well to protest a severe reduction in their pension. Teachers in Arizona are threatening to strike as well. These strikes are all being organized with broad grassroots support among union members.

While these places might all seem to be dark red states, they had some Democratic representation during the Obama Administration. Moreover, simply because a state is politically conservative in some parts doesn’t mean labor unions and their allies, including AWA, should have no interest in the economic and labor issues there.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee. King was in Memphis to support a strike by sanitation workers when he was assassinated. King believed that civil rights were entwined with economic justice and had sought to launch a “Poor People’s Campaign” to address economic issues. However, the effort failed after his death. The idea is being revived by the Rev. Dr. Barber, President of the North Carolina NAACP. Stay tuned…

We seem to be at the breaking point where workers will no longer accept death by cuts. When push comes to shove, we must fight back against hypercapitalism which is destroying the middle class.

ABOUT US: The American Workforce Association (AWA) is a community organization with ties to labor unions founded to address economic inequality that has resulted in lower salaries and fewer benefits for the workforce. We welcome input from everyone to grow our leadership team.

In solidarity,

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association

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Women’s March

Hello all:

We had a great time at the 2018 Women’s March in Morristown, NJ demonstrating with 15,000 fellow protesters in support of women’s rights.

A variety of leaders spoke including Saily Avelenda – leader of NJ 11th for Change, Liz Abzug, daughter of feminist icon Bella Abzug, Governor Phil Murphy, NJ Democratic Vice Chair and labor leader Lizette Delgado, and Mikie Sherill, who is running for Congress in the 11th district. The speakers elaborated on the need to fight against the Trump administration and the pervasive spirit of bigotry and hate that it has spurred.

AWA fully supports equal pay for equal work for all people as well as the strict enforcement of EEOC anti-discrimination and sexual harassment prevention measures that make the workplace equal for all.

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It was a great to march among allies for women’s rights, civil rights, labor leaders, Democratic officials, and Berniecrats, among others.

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The Latino Action Network’s legislative conference is going to be held February 3rd, 2018 at the Robert Treat Hotel from 8am to 4pm. A panel on workers’ rights is scheduled to be held during the conference. This will be a great opportunity to network, learn more about the issues facing the Hispanic community, and connect with allies. Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman is confirmed to speak along with other progressive leaders in New Jersey. It is free for all to attend. Please register here:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/latino-action-networks-2018-annual-legislative-conference-tickets-36906443165

In addition, the anti-Trump group Forward Not Back is holding a forum on economic issues on February 7th in Highland Park, NJ. State Senator Patrick Diegnan, along with Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Assemblyman Rob Karabinchak, Jon Whiten, Vice President of prominent think tank New Jersey Policy Perspective will be the featured speakers.

https://m.facebook.com/events/1641250369268221/?acontext=%7B%22ref%22%3A%222%22%2C%22ref_dashboard_filter%22%3A%22calendar%22%2C%22action_history%22%3A%22null%22%7D&ref=bookmarks

Please attend. We seek to have a strong presence in order to promote our organization.

In terms of formal business, we have formally been incorporated in New Jersey. This is a great step forward as we seek to establish ourselves as leaders in the struggle for workers’ rights.

We are growing steadily as we build relationships with organizations and plan our strategy to address inequalities in the workplace, especially for temp workers. We are building a database we plan on featuring prominently on our website. Any suggestions that would help struggling workers would be appreciated.

Take care,

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association
22 Carpenter Terrace N.
2 R
Belleville, NJ 07019
American.workforce1@gmail.com
(908) 421-1422
@American_Work1
Americanworkforce.net

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2018

Hello everyone:

We end 2017 eager for the coming fight to advance rights in the workplace in 2018.

While our allies in the Resistance have accomplished a great deal by halting the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, significant losses occurred in the last few weeks with the FCC’s repeal of Net Neutrality and the passage of the tax reform bill. These actions increase inequality and directly harm the middle class. While these steps backward are quite unfortunate, we have much to be hopeful for in the coming weeks.

New Jersey will have a new Governor on January 16th
who has publicly committed to raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and divesting the state from Wall Street by creating a public bank. Our allies in the Fight for 15 movement plan to launch an aggressive campaign soon which we will support.

Regarding our next steps: at our first meeting, we resolved to develop a strategy to help temporary and part-time workers. Toward that end, we are creating a compendium of resources to assist those in need which include experts on existing labor laws and lawyers who can assist in any arising litigation. We are also seeking to organize employees to help each other. Please reach out if you can help. You will make a difference in doing so!

Our next meeting is scheduled for January 14, 2018 from 5-7pm at 7 Silvester Ct. East Brunswick, NJ 08816. It is a private residence where parking is ample. Refreshments will be provided.

We will be discussing our most recent efforts in helping workers, growing our organization, and advocacy.

We would love to see you there! If you can attend please RSVP here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/387624648340564/

For those who cannot attend in-person, a video conference link will be provided.

On February 3rd, the Latino Action Network is holding its legislative conference in the Robert Treat Hotel to discuss many of the pressing issues facing the Latino community, which include many that we are in agreement on. Having a good show there, would help promote AWA.

The link to sign up is here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/latino-action-networks-2018-annual-legislative-conference-tickets-36906443165

Our new website is almost finished! Please check it out here!

http://americanworkforce-net.stackstaging.com

Our organization is off to a good start, but we need your help. While progress is being made, our enemies are eager to press their luck before it runs out.

Please consider donating $50 to help us cover the costs of public outreach to:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/awa

We also need volunteers to help grow our efforts. Please reply to this email if you’re interested in helping. With your help, we are stronger.

We are deeply grateful for your support. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Happy New Year!

Take care,

Dan

Daniel L. Ulloa
President
American Workforce Association
22 Carpenter Terrace N.
2 R
Belleville, NJ 07019
(908) 421-1422
American.workforce1@gmail.com
@American_Work1

Americanworkforce.net
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