Members of Congress Reject Janus Ruling and Stand with Working People

Members of Congress Reject Janus Ruling and Stand with Working People

After the Supreme Court ruled against working people in the Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, case last week, dozens of members of Congress condemned the ruling and expressed their support for the rights of working people. Here are excerpts from their statements.

Rep. John Garamendi (Calif.-3rd District):

Public sector unions are legally required to bargain on behalf of everyone in their shop, regardless of whether they’re a union member or not. Today’s decision by the Supreme Court creates a massive free-rider issue by eliminating the ability of unions to charge fair share fees for the nonunion employees who benefit from the work union representatives do.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Calif.-12th District):

The Supreme Court’s radical ruling tramples over the freedom and basic rights of more than 17 million public workers.

Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.-13th District):

The Supreme Court’s disgraceful decision today will further rig the system for billionaires and against teachers, firefighters, nurses and other vital public sector workers.

Rep. Brad Sherman (Calif.-30th District):

Today’s Supreme Court decision was targeted at the public sector, but it strikes at the heart of Americans’ right to collectively bargain for better pay, safer working conditions, access to health care and basic retirement benefits.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (Calif.-34th District):

Through my work with AFSCME and the United Nurses Association of California, I have a unique understanding as to how important strong unions are in creating an economy that gives all Americans a chance to thrive, not just the wealthiest among us.

Rep. Karen Bass (Calif.-37th District):

This morning, the Supreme Court overturned 41 years of legal precedent to undermine the freedom of teachers, firefighters, police officers and all other public service workers to negotiate for decent pay and fair workplaces.

Rep. Linda Sanchez (Calif.-38th District):

By requiring unions to represent everyone in a collective bargaining unit without ensuring fair contributions for that representation, unions will be forced to do more with much less—to the detriment of those they represent. This misguided decision will have devastating long-term consequences for hardworking Americans.

Rep. Juan Vargas (Calif.-51st District):

Unions are quintessentially American and critical in the fight for fair wages and worker protections.

Rep. Scott Peters (Calif.-52nd District):

The Supreme Court Janus ruling is a blatant, ideological attack on public servants, who have fought for rights that benefit all workers.

Rep. Susan Davis (Calif.-53rd District):

This ruling is a blow to the middle class. It weakens the ability of workers to negotiate for better pay, workplace safety, work/life balance, health care and paid sick days.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.-3rd District):

Unions empower workers to collectively bargain for higher wages, safer working conditions and better benefits—like health care, paid sick leave, overtime pay, vacation time and retirement plans.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (Del.-At Large District):

Today’s Supreme Court ruling puts the needs of special interests and the wealthiest among us ahead of hardworking, middle-class families.

Rep. Alcee Hastings (Fla.-20th District):

The men and women of the labor movement are the backbone of our country. This blatant attack on unions is just another example of conservatives looking to hand out more tax cuts for the rich.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.-23rd District):

After stealing a seat on the Supreme Court when they refused to hold a hearing or a vote on President Obama’s nominee, the court’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling shows how far Republicans and their wealthy financial backers are willing to go to tilt the economy against working people.

Rep. Colleen Hanabusa (Hawaii-1st District):

As a labor attorney and a firm believer in the balance of collective bargaining, I know that government’s greatest asset is its employees. The most effective and efficient way to manage that asset is through collective bargaining and union representation. Our hardworking families and government benefit from that.

Rep. Bobby Rush (Ill.-1st District):

Today’s ruling will do nothing but perpetuate a rigged economy that reduces the opportunities available to working-class Americans.

Rep. Mike Quigley (Ill.-5th District):

By increasing the number of free-riding workers, unions could be forced to drastically reduce their budgets, which in turn will weaken their ability to negotiate stronger contracts and defend the rights of American workers who deserve a fair wage and a fair workplace.

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.-8th District):

This decision allows employees to free ride on the efforts of unions in representing all workers, and undermines all workers. This is not fair or right.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Ill.-9th District):

This is a sad day for public employees and all of us who rely on them to provide us with the services we need, from keeping our air and water clean to teaching our children to protecting public health.

Rep. Brad Schneider (Ill.-10th District):

Unions helped build our nation’s middle class, and today’s ruling fits a pattern of attacks to undermine labor and working families, and weaken workers’ right to negotiate for better pay, working conditions, medical benefits, retirement benefits and paid leave. 

Rep. Bill Foster (Ill.-11th District):

I am deeply concerned that this decision will weaken our strong labor unions that have historically given our workers a safer work environment, fair wages and collective bargaining rights against unfair working conditions. They hold a special place in our country’s history.

Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.-17th District):

Today the Supreme Court issued a ruling that puts billionaires and corporate special interests above hardworking Americans.

Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.-5th District):

This decision will massively tip the scale in favor of corporations and strip resources away from unions that fight for all workers.

Rep. Dan Kildee (Mich.-5th District):

The basic rights of workers, including the right to collectively bargain, are under attack by Republicans like never before. 

Rep. Sandy Levin (Mich.-9th District):

Today’s ruling is deeply misguided and distressing. It turns its back on what helped public employees become a vital part of the American middle class.

Rep. Debbie Dingell (Mich.-12th District):

Congress must do everything we can to address the challenges facing our working men and women, and with today’s decision, our to-do list got much larger. 

Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.-5th District):

This decision is a victory for the wealthy Republican donors and dark-money shadow groups that spent more than $17 billion to steal a seat on the Supreme Court and tilt the court further in favor of corporate interests. Today, the Republican majority gave them what they paid for. 

Rep. Dina Titus (Nev.-1st District):

Collective bargaining is a tide that lifts all boats. The positive effects of bargaining collectively in the workplace not only benefit union members, but also extend to nonunion members who enjoy higher wages, affordable health insurance and help with a secure retirement as a result of union efforts.

Rep. Jacky Rosen (Nev.-3rd District):

As a former union member, I understand the support that labor organizations bring to families. That’s why I will continue fighting to ensure Nevada’s workers have the ability to advocate for themselves and their union rights.

Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (N.H.-1st District):

In the last two days, the Supreme Court has dealt a blow to working men and women, made it harder for women to access the health care they need, and upheld a ban on Muslim immigration that directly attacks our shared values as Americans. 

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster (N.H.-2nd District):

The dedicated work of labor unions has improved working conditions and protections for all Americans, and this misguided ruling, which undoes decades of legal precedent, will undermine ongoing efforts to increase wages, enhance benefits and make work environments safer. 

Rep. Donald Norcross (N.J.-1st District):

To make our economy work for all of us, not just the rich and powerful, working people must be able to stick together to gain power to raise wages and improve benefits, like health care and retirement. I know how important it is for workers to have a voice in the workplace because I lived it.

Rep. Albio Sires (N.J.-8th District):

The court’s decision today sets back workers’ rights by decades and makes it considerably more difficult for unions to keep advocating for fair pay and fair workplaces.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (N.J.-9th District):

A recent study from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that anti-union, so-called “Right to Work” legislation passed at the state level has long been aimed at buoying Republicans and attacking Democrats. So there can be no mistaking it: This decision is about politics, not workers; about servitude, not freedom.

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.-12th District):

Unions are essential to a strong middle class; as Republican attacks on them have intensified, we’ve seen wages stagnate and that middle class shrink.

Rep. Gregory Meeks (N.Y.-5th District):

The Janus decision will inevitably undermine unions from exercising their right to collective bargaining by hurting them financially. Coupled with last month’s Supreme Court decision allowing employers to deny workers their due day in court through class-action waivers in arbitration agreements, workers are more vulnerable today than they were prior to Neil Gorsuch’s appointment.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.-10th District):

In reaching its result, the court unjustifiably overturned decades-old precedent, injected clear right-wing ideological bias into a long-settled area of law, and upended the settled expectations of state and local governments.  

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.-13th District):

Overturning four decades of precedent, the court ruled that public sector unions’ long-held practice of collecting “fair share fees” for the services they are legally required to provide workers is a violation of the First Amendment. Today’s ruling is an unprecedented attack on unions and the rights of the more than 17.3 million public employees around the nation.

Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.-14th District):

Unions are at the core of lifting up America’s working- and middle-class families, by fighting for better wages and benefits and fair working conditions. 

Rep. Eliot Engel (N.Y.-16th District):

As a former member of the teachers union, I find today’s ruling particularly distasteful. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority overturned four decades of legal precedent to undermine the ability of public service workers to negotiate for decent pay and fair workplaces.

Rep. Alma Adams (N.C.-12th District):

Congress must find a legislative fix that protects and strengthens the voices of our working men and women.

Rep. Marcia Fudge (Ohio-11th District):

The Supreme Court failed to protect the fundamental right of workers to form a union and collectively bargain.

Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio-13th District):

Labor unions built this country. We have unions to thank for safe, clean work environments, the 40-hour workweek and the strongest middle class the world has ever seen. We need to be supporting and growing unions to fight for a prosperous life for all, not undercutting them.

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (Ore.-1st District):

We should be making it easier, not harder, for workers to form unions and collectively bargain.

Rep. Robert Brady (Pa.-1st District):

As a longtime member of the carpenters and teachers unions, I know firsthand the importance of organized labor. Our nation’s middle class was born from workers coming together to demand better wages and working conditions.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (Pa.-13th District):

Janus v. AFSCME is a wolf in sheep’s clothing: a case brought by billionaires in the name of “fairness” to employees who benefit from collective bargaining but don’t want to pay their fair share. Its purpose is and has always been to divide workers and undermine the ability of unions to advocate for them at a time when they need it most.

Rep. Matt Cartwright (Pa.-17th District):

I continue to stand with our union members, and will not stop in my efforts to protect and maintain collective bargaining rights. Furthermore, I plan on responding to this decision with legislation in the United States House of Representatives this week.

Rep. David Cicilline (R.I.-1st District):

The American dream was meant for all of us, not just the wealthy few. I’m going to continue fighting for a country that’s consistent with those values.

Rep. Jim Langevin (R.I.-2nd District):

I am appalled that the Gorsuch court is now going after civil servants by overturning four decades of precedent and undermining their rights as employees.

Rep. Steve Cohen (Tenn.-9th District):

Yet again we are witnessing the consequences of the U.S. Senate’s refusal to even consider President Obama’s last Supreme Court nominee. By holding that nomination hostage for nearly a year, Mitch McConnell and the Senate majority gave the court a stolen swing vote that once again harms not just public employees like our teachers, police officers and other public servants, but will adversely affect every working American. 

Rep. Marc Veasey (Texas-33rd District):

We formed the Blue Collar Caucus to fight for American workers and push back against anti-worker leadership in Washington. Today’s decision adds to the importance of our mission and strengthens our resolve.

Rep. Bobby Scott (Va.-3rd District):

Today the Supreme Court’s conservatives once again used dubious legal reasoning to achieve a partisan objective.

Rep. Don Beyer (Va.-8th District):

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court’s majority has spent the month of June concentrating power in the hands of entrenched interests at the expense of American laborers, unions, immigrants, refugees and the disenfranchised. This is exactly the kind of anti-worker outcome we knew to expect when a Trump-appointed judge was confirmed to a stolen Supreme Court seat.

Rep. Rick Larsen (Wash.-2nd District):

Organized labor put food on my table and clothes on my back. My father was a union guy, and he, along with others, helped build the U.S. and raise the country’s labor standards.

Rep. Derek Kilmer (Wash.-6th District):

I will keep working in Congress to protect those rights and push back against the special interests who have launched ideologically driven, persistent and well-funded legal attacks against working people and their right to organize.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.-7th District):

I intend to do everything possible to continue to fight for the right of workers to organize, stand together and negotiate for better working conditions, and serve as a strong check on the increasing stranglehold of unchecked corporate power.

Rep. Adam Smith (Wash.-9th District):

I stand with unions and their continued efforts to improve the lives of hardworking Americans across the country.

Rep. Denny Heck (Wash.-10th District):

I continue to ask those in power, when does America get a raise? As housing, health care and everyday costs of living skyrocket, we need to do all we can to empower workers and allow them the tools to earn fair pay and benefits.

Rep. Mark Pocan (Wis.-2nd District):

Earlier this year, I introduced the Workplace Democracy Act, legislation that restores real bargaining rights to workers and repeals the right to work laws like those that Governor Walker has used to undercut American workers. We must stand up for the millions of middle-class families who are under attack by Republican leaders and rulings like the one delivered today by the Supreme Court.

Kenneth Quinnell
Thu, 07/05/2018 – 10:09

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Updated: July 16, 2018 — 8:37 pm