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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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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