Injustice: The Janus Decision and What Comes Next

Yesterday, the US Supreme Court released their decision on the case of Janus vs. AFSCME.

In this ruling, they had the chance to side with working people and reaffirm our right to organize for dignity on the job.

But the “Justices” who make up the court did not deliver justice.

In an outrageous decision, the court chose to side with an $80 million campaign to “defund and defang” unions backed by right wing extremists like the Koch brothers. Their ruling is part of a concerted effort to deplete public sector unions of resources and weaken union organizing throughout the US.

This is a ruling that will impact all workers, but it will have the greatest impact on the workers who have the most to lose. The fact is that women in nonunion jobs make 78 cents for every dollar a man makes, but the gender wage gap for union workers is 9 cents and shrinking. Black union members today earn 14.7% more – and Latinx union workers 21.8% more – than their nonunion counterparts. In some sectors the difference is even greater. Immigrant and LGBTQ workers in union workplaces have better protections against bosses who might otherwise target them for abuse and retaliation.

It isn’t an accident that the workers who will be most harmed by Janus are those who are already hurting thanks to an economy rigged against them. The Janus decision is just the latest attack in a war on working people being waged by corporations, and white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, and xenophobia have always been the cornerstones of the corporate agenda.

The labor movement has been fighting back against that agenda for over a century, and no court case will stop us from continuing to fight bad bosses, CEOs, and the politicians who empower them. If anything, this decision means that we have to fight harder and smarter -- we have to make sure each and every worker in this country hears the message that even though our judicial system is weak, unions still make us strong, because we are always stronger together.

Today, all of us at Massachusetts Jobs with Justice are angry, and we hope that you are angry too, but most importantly, we hope you are ready to channel that anger into action. In the coming days, weeks, and months, we will escalate our efforts to educate, agitate, and mobilize working people to stand up in their workplaces and their communities. We will be organizing as if all of our lives depended on it -- because they do.

Please join us in Boston on Monday, July 16 for a special training about Janus and its impact on workers -- we’ll talk more about the decision, what it means, and how we’re going to fight back. Get more info and RSVP here! Not able to make it to Boston? Don’t worry -- we’ll be rolling out this training across the state soon -- stay tuned for more details.

Gillian MasonJanus, union