With Supreme Court case looming, union urges workers to join

The Supreme Court last month heard arguments in the case of Janus vs. the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees—and if the union loses, unions and many union experts warn, all of America’s workers are likely to lose.

In Janus, the AFSCME and its allies say this is a make-or-break fight for their ability to raise funds to continue to raise adequate funds to fight for workers’ rights, both for those who belong to a union and those who do not. If AFSCME loses, unions in 23 states will no longer be able to charge “agency fees” from nonunion members, fees that comprise a considerable portion of revenue for some unions.

The American Federation of Government Employees this week rang another alarm bell about the case and its possible consequences, in an announcement on its website.

“If the Supremes rule against AFSCME, the right to freeload will extend to public sector employees nationwide,” AFGE said. “Unions will lose resources, which means working people will likely see a pay cut, have to pay more for health insurance, and are less likely to have any money saved up for retirement.”

“Good jobs will disappear,” the union said starkly. “The rich will get richer, and the rest of us are left fighting for the scraps.”  

AFGE offers one way that will surely help in pushing back against efforts to debilitate unions.

“Ask your coworkers to join a union!” the announcement exhorts. “It’s the most powerful way to fight back and send a message that they cannot destroy us. The union is everyone. It is as strong as we want it to be. So, join a union today and protect our freedom to fight for fair compensation, affordable healthcare, and retirement security!”

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision on Janus in June.   

Reader comments

Tue, Mar 20, 2018

Better off with unions than without them. That's obvious. Before them: Child labor, workers falling into meat-grinders, company store debt schemes, no interest by bosses in working conditions. Though different than private sector, fed unions help keep safety and standard of living.

Thu, Mar 15, 2018

"Free to Choose" is just Free to Lose. Face it. The reason a whole bunch of conservative big business money is backing "free to choose" is because they know without making people pay their share for collective bargaining, the unions will lose a ton of money, and they will weaken politically. Ultimately historical economic statistics and facts show that as unions dry up in an area or an industry, wages and wealth for workers goes down. That's the fact. So, go ahead keep pushing a dumb slogan. But know that Free to Choose on this issue, "agency fees", means "free to lose." Join unions and support them, and help your kids and grandkids come into a world with middle class. The evidence is overwhelming, and you can read it anywhere: USA middle class / real wages peaked 1960 to 1970s. So did union membership. Both have since dropped. Good luck to those who dream on against the facts.

Fri, Mar 9, 2018

Join a union, and help support the hope of a middle class. Makes sense to anyone who actually looks at the evidence. Middle class grew from WWII until the 1970s, alongside the growth in union membership. Unions help lift wages for everyone. This happened in other countries, in Europe and elsewhere, too.

Fri, Mar 9, 2018

Unions are great for many workers in the private sector. The unions representing the federal rank and file employees are weak and do very little for the dues paid. Under both the democrats and republicans we have had our cost of living increases have either been frozen or a small marginal amount has been allocated that does not cover the costs of insurance premium increases, general cost of living expenses. So they talk a lot make big salaries and do very little. Suggestion "put up or shut up:!

Thu, Mar 8, 2018

Free to Choose. We should not be forced to join a union. Nor should we have to pay unions if we aren't members. Fortunately I've never had to join a union and I don't believe I've ever been the worse for it.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above


Mike Causey Columnist
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

2020 Digital Almanac

Stay Connected

Latest Forum Posts

Ask the Expert

Have a question regarding your federal employee benefits or retirement?

Submit a question