The Janus Decision and District Council 1707 AFSCME
The Fight to Protect Working Families Has Expanded and We Will Continue to Win
With the Supreme Court issuing its decision on Janus v AFSCME, corporate billionaires and the far right have used the majority of the US Court to do its bidding. This is rigged attempt to not only attack unions, but specifically public employee unions, who in the past decades have been effective organizing and politically active. Public employee unions have demonstrated the largest growth in the labor movement for the past 40 years.
District Council 1707 AFSCME which represents private non-profit human service and fundraising employees in New York City, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Orange Counties will continue to remain determined, vigilant and assertive to organize workers internally and externally.
Supporting our Sister Unions -- DC 37 and CSEA
This court decision only strengthens the resolve of the District Council and its locals to support our International Union and the other affected unions, like the AFT, NEA and SEIU with unfettered solidarity and every assistance we can provide. We also will also continue to offer strong support our sister affiliates in New York State AFSCME in like New York City public employees union, District Council 37 and CSEA, representing state employees.
The Supreme Court in it 5-4 decision has sullied the court’s integrity and reputation. The court has directly made a political decision to harm working families and their representatives. Despite distressing efforts to categorize the decision as a right to expand free speech, this decision actually violates the First Amendment right of employees in public sector unions. Teachers, firefighters and other public employees in New York City, across New York State and across the nation will continue to represent workers in their shops despite the vile attempts to have public employees to become non-members.
Far-right organizations and backward public officials will attempt to tell public employees not to sign union cards and to not pay union dues. The four dissenting justices said in their minority opinion that “… the elimination of fair-share fees would create an all-or-nothing choice for the workers whom unions represent: pay union dues or pay nothing but still receive the benefits a union provides. In that world many rational employees will choose to become free riders.”
District Council 1707 has fought for 45 years to represent members in the non-profit human services and fundraising organizations. While we fight to increase wages and benefits for our members, it must be noted that across the state and across the nations unorganized member in similar fields earn much less and do not have the health benefits, pensions, vacation, sick time and other benefits afforded our members. Also, without a union they do not have grievance procedures and the ability to seek arbitration and mediation. The employer is the final arbiter of their work lives.
Members Must Become More Active
District Council 1707 will double it efforts to continue to represent our members, organize new employees in the not-for-profit human services and continue to internally strengthen our members in our shops. This cannot be accomplished without the leadership and the strength from our rank and file members. YOU are the Union.
This court case did not fall out of the sky serendipitously, it was the combined effort of many right-wing groups that have been plotting for years for this moment. With the appointment of the latest Supreme Court Justice by the Republican Party, Neil Gorsuch, the right believes it has the majority on the Supreme Court its dreamed about for ages.
When President Obama attempted to nominate Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia after his sudden death in 2016, the Republican Senate stalled even bringing Garland to a Senate confirmation hearing. With the nomination of Gorsuch by President Trump, the right has their dream court and they wait eagerly to replace other justices if they retire.
Every Election Has its Consequences
For DC 1707 members, every election has its consequences. Even though the nation has been shackled with Donald Trump, members must be prepared to organize our members and their neighbors to get out the vote this November. This will be the critical election of the 21st Century. Voters must not become complacent and surrender to the right-wing onslaught. We must not only vote but organize and Get Out The Vote across the nation to take back the House and the Senate.
Abolitionist, feminist and orator Frederick Douglass had it right in the 18th Century. “Agitate, agitate, agitate, “ he said in the month before he died in 1895.