FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2018
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
We condemn the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn 40 years’ worth of precedent at the behest of corporate billionaires in the Janus v. AFSCME case. The decision today to reverse a unanimous 1977 Supreme Court ruling is nothing more than a bald attempt to weaken unions by some of America’s richest CEOs and five right-wing political appointees sitting on the court.
Never in its history has the court issued a ruling so clearly motivated by politics and outright disdainful of the constitutional tenets it has vowed to vigorously defend. Working families should never trust this court again.
For decades, corporate titans have engaged in heavy-handed and often illegal tactics in an effort to snuff out unions. No matter how much money the CEOs spend, they will never extinguish the will of so many working people to stand together in unions. In this era of economic insecurity, workers are engaging in potent collective action to fight back from the teachers’ strikes sweeping the country to the University of California workers in our own state standing up to inequality. It’s never been clearer that unions are as important to California’s future as we’ve been to its past.
Unions are the only counterbalance to the growing power of corporate CEOs and the politicians they bankroll, giving workers a seat at the table to negotiate with bosses for fair pay, decent benefits and safe working conditions. Because unions promote fairness and equality on the job and through our broader advocacy on behalf of all workers, we’re enemy No. 1 for corporate special interests and right-wing extremists. That’s ultimately what the Janus case was all about.
While this decision is a blow, it will not deter us from giving more workers the opportunity to organize a union to better their lives, and the lives of their families. A union on the job remains the surest path to California’s middle class.
Despite this decision intended to raze unions to the ground, California’s unions continue to be a strong force to enable workers to stand up to those in power who have rigged the economy against us. This is the first of a ‘one-two’ punch with the next one to aim at the unions in the private sector, which may not be directly affected by Janus.
No one court decision can stamp out decades of progress made by unions and our members. In the face of today’s decision, California’s unions are redoubling our efforts to remain a beacon of hope for a country sliding into plutocracy. We won’t settle for surviving this decision. We’ll continue to build strength to give all working people a fair shot at pursuing the American Dream.
The California Labor Federation is made up of more than 1,200 unions, representing 2.1 million union members in manufacturing, retail, construction, hospitality, public sector, health care, entertainment and other industries.