Last week, the United States Supreme Court delivered a blow to the American Labor Movement with it's decision in Janus vs. AFSCME. In that case, the Supreme Court ruled that State Fair Share Laws, which require non-union members of public bargaining units to contribute their fair share for benefits that the union proves, are unconstitutional. As a result, the fair share fees that public sector unions previously received no longer may be collected and any public employee who wishes to enjoy the benefits of a union may do so without paying for them.
Make no mistake about it, the Janus decision is a clear attempt at union busting. Those in favor of the Supreme Court's ruling clearly understand that there is no free lunch and that there is a cost for everything. To think that someone can now free load off of the backs of our hard working union members while still reaping all the benefits of union representation, union pensions, and union insurance is quite simply appalling.
Many public entities have already notified us that they will no longer deduct fair share fees from non-members. The financial impact of this blow will vary from local to local, but the harm to the overall American Labor Movement can potentially be drastic.
People in favor of the Janus decision seem to forget that union dues have enabled us to make great strides for not only union members, but for the entire working class. Many of these anti-union supporters take for granted the "job perks" that unions have fought for, for all working people. The 40 hour work week, sick and accident leave, vacation time, greater safety standards, and so on that have been gained through many years of collective bargaining.
To all members, especially those in public section unions - it is critical that you stay active in your union and encourage fellow co-workers to join their union if they aren't already. The American Labor Movement is more powerful that one Supreme Court Decision. We need to stay united, continue to organize, and pursue the ongoing fight for America's working class. It is simply unfair for non-members to free load, taking your union's benefits without contributing. Going forward, we will explore all lawful means for ending this injustice.
Philip Ameris, Sr.
Business Manager, Laborers District Council of Western Pennsylvania