Washington, D.C.– Yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari to hear Janus v. AFSCME, a landmark judicial case that would reverse the actions of Abood v. Detroit Board of Education andweaken the power of workers to bargain collectively to advance their interests. The Congressional Progressive Caucus affirms its support for the right to organize and denounces the special interest funded agenda seeking to cripple organized labor in the following statement.
“The deliberate and systematic dismantling of labor unions in this country has never been more flagrant. This case is a coordinated attack on hardworking teachers and public sector employees in this country. Workers’ ability to organize has been the one thing that has historically improved living standards for working families in this country and this case must be seen for what it is – an assault on the middle class.” – Rep. Raúl Grijalva (AZ-3), CPC Co-Chair
“Every day, public sector unions empower millions of American workers to organize on behalf of living wages, safe workplaces, and a fair shot at the American Dream. These American workers are teachers and doctors, police officers and firefighters, and most importantly, friends and neighbors. The work they do each day supports every single person across the nation and we should do everything we can to support them.”- Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-2), CPC Co-Chair
“Janus v. AFSCME is another attempt by corporations and billionaires to stonewall working people in every corner of this nation. By attempting to revoke the rights and bargaining power of unions, this case directly threatens our communities. More than 16 million wage and salary workers across the U.S. are represented by a union—from teachers, nurses and firefighters to maritime workers and mail carriers. Paid union membership allows these everyday heroes to maintain fair wages, safe working conditions and well-deserved benefits. Without unions, our society would crumble. The least we can do is stand up for our union brothers and sisters against union-busting and for the right to workplace democracy--which ultimately ensures that working people have a collective voice and better wages and benefits." – Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-7), CPC First Vice-Chair
“Right-wing assaults on labor unions across the country and skyrocketing inequality go hand in hand. The truth is: unions built the middle class, and if we’re serious about rebuilding, we need to support unions, not tear them down. At a time when a single family owns more wealth than 40% of Americans combined, this decision is a travesty — and I will do everything I can in Congress to fight back.” – Rep. Keith Ellison (MN-5), CPC Vice-Chair
“Janus v. AFSCME is the latest attack in a decades-long assault on unions,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-07) “The case could have devastating consequences for working families and put the workers’ right to join strong unions at risk. It could make it harder to fight against workplace discrimination and diminish worker protections. We must fight back to make sure workers’ voices aren’t silenced.” –Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-7), CPC Vice-Chair
“This case is a blatantly obvious and outrageous assault on the rights of hard-working Americans to peaceably organize to secure better working conditions and a brighter future for them and their families. It is meritless and should be rejected outright by the Supreme Court based on the legal precedent that has already been firmly established.” – Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), CPC Vice-Chair
“The long-running campaign to destroy unions in America just got a boost with the Supreme Court’s decision to hear Janus v. AFSCME. The irony is that the Supreme Court already decided 40 years ago that public employees represented by unions can get a rebate from their dues for any union political or campaign expenditures they disagree with. But now union-busting forces in America think that public sector unions should be forced to represent employees in contract negotiations and grievances for free. This dubious First Amendment theory is a dagger pointed at the heart of collective bargaining in America. Unions can’t run on thin air and even Justice Scalia understood that there’s no First Amendment right to be a free rider.” – Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-8), CPC Vice-Chair
“Unions matter. They allow workers to join together to confront the impacts of a rigged economy, and it is no coincidence that attacks on unions come at a time of wage stagnation and greater income inequality. Although Janus was dismissed by a district court and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, the National Right to Work Committee and their anti-worker allies are continuing their assault.” – Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), CPC Vice-Chair
“Throughout our nation’s history, unions have continued to strengthen our workforce by fighting for fair wages, benefits, and increased workplace safety. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to hear the Janus v. AFSCME case prolongs and further fuels a coordinated, corporate-backed attack on public service workers and the unions that ensure they have quality healthcare, retirement security and time off work to care for loved ones and family members – even as the Republican-controlled Congress tries to strip these protections away. We must stand united against these attacks that aim to preclude working individuals from having a seat at the table.” - Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12)
“Public sector unions are a key part of what makes America’s workforce the best in the world. Decades of securing better wages, safer work conditions, and fair treatment have benefitted all working families, but have also made them a target of those on the right. The Supreme Court’s decision to hear this case is disappointing, but not surprising in the current era of constant assault on the middle class. We must join together to fight these attacks.” – Rep. Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
“The Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court case is yet another attack on public sector workers. This case shows that corporate interests will stop at nothing to take away working people’s right to organize and unionize. Make no mistake: if corporations prevail in this case, it is families and our economy who will suffer.” – Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-13)
“Janus v. AFSCMECouncil 31 attacks the freedom of workers everywhere. The freedom to join strong unions is a fundamental right critical to our economy and we need unions now more than ever. I will not back down from this fight and will always stand up for working families, workers, and the communities unions serve.” – Rep. Jimmy Gomez (CA-34)
“Let’s be clear, this attack on the Fair Share principle of labor law is part of a decades-long strategy by wealthy corporate interests and right wing groups to weaken and destroy America’s Labor Unions, and the living wages, good benefits, and worker health and safety measures Unions have negotiated to build the greatest middle class the world has ever known. Every worker who is represented by a Union at the bargaining table should pay a fair share for that representation. That’s what the Fair Share principle is all about, and the Supreme Court must not permit it to be eliminated." – Rep. Rick Nolan (MN-8)
The Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus within the House Democratic Caucus, with over 70 members standing up for progressive ideals in Washington and throughout the country. Since 1991, the CPC has advocated for progressive policies that prioritize working Americans over corporate interests, fight economic and social inequality, and promote civil liberties. The CPC champions progressive policy solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, a $15 national minimum wage, fair trade, gun violence reform, debt-free college, and making the federal government a Model Employer.