The Janus decision announced today by the U.S. Supreme Court is the result of an effort that has been waged for years to defund and destroy unions . Those behind the Janus case (wealthy interests like the Koch brothers) wanted the court to overrule decades of precedent enabling public sector unions to charge a fair-share fee to nonmembers for the representation the unions are required to provide. In this round, the wealthy interests won. (You can read more about the actual court case of Janus v. AFSCME here and in a recent Chicago Sun Times article.)
The end goal, of course, is to cripple labor unions, weaken workers’ rights, and further exacerbate the imbalance of power in our economic, political and social systems. That’s where we all come in–to reaffirm our commitment to unions and ensure that the gains and protections they provide are not lost because of one court battle.
How does this affect Texas AFT?
Texas, like 23 other states, is a right-to-work state, meaning that union membership is not required (and we have no collective bargaining for school employees in Texas), and all who join Texas AFT do so voluntarily. So we have no nonmember fees here, and there won’t be any direct impact on our union. However our other affiliates across the nation will have to devote considerable resources working to sign up nonmembers and retain members by showing the value of our union. (The good news is that this is a worthwhile goal anyway!)
What can you do to help our union and all unions fight back?
First, we can win in the court of public opinion by working together with our community allies to make clear what the attacks on unions are all about and what our attackers’ agenda will do to our communities. We can continue to speak out and fight for decent jobs, a living wage, respect and a voice in the workplace, great public schools, access to comprehensive healthcare, affordable college, a dignified retirement, and public policies guided by fairness, economic justice, and equality.
Here’s what you can do specifically:
Show your solidarity with unions across the country who will be on the front lines working to recruit new members and retain existing members
1) Retweet our Tweet here, or send your own message of support to union members. Use the graphic below and hashtags: #IamAFT, #JanusvsAFSCME #unionstrong, as well as handles: @AFTunion and @TexasAFT) Graphics for your use also are below.
2) Share our Facebook message
Graphics for your use also are below.
3) Get ready to vote in November!
We won’t let any court case stop us from sticking together in our union to build better lives for ourselves, our families and our communities. And we won’t let politicians who have bought into—or been bought by—the rigged system continue to hold office or wield power to deny working folks the opportunity for a better life. In this year’s mid-term elections, our union and all working Americans have this message for the anti-worker billionaires: This rigged system stops now!
4) Show Texas elected official that we’re ready to Speak Out and Stand Together!
Show elected officials we mean business when the next legislative session starts in January. Sign our petition demanding:
- An increase in the state contribution to public education funding, including a significant increase in state per-pupil funding.
- A state-funded pay raise for all school employees.
- An increase in the contribution of state funds for health care for retired and active public school employees, and an increase in the state contribution rate for school employee pensions.
- Fix the punitive accountability system by eliminating A-F ratings and repealing the law that lets the Texas Education Agency take over school districts.