Workers remain united despite Supreme Court decision

ST. PAUL – The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday overturned four decades of precedent and sound law, making it harder for working people to join together in strong unions to build better lives for families and communities.

The 5-4 decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case now allows public sector employees to enjoy the benefits of a negotiated contract without paying for it.

Janus is the culmination of decades of attacks on working people by corporations and the wealthy to rig the economy in their favor. Despite their efforts, workers will continue to work in union to make our children smarter, care for our family members and make sure our communities are safe every day.

The following statements are from leaders of the Public Sector Union Alliance:

Bill McCarthy, president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO: “No court decision will ever stop working people from joining together in union to negotiate a fair return on their work. No matter how many roadblocks corporate special interests put in our path, our state’s labor movement will continue to fight for working Minnesotans’ freedom to prosper.”

Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota: “Neither this ruling nor the right-wing groups that will weaponize it, will silence the voices of Minnesota’s professional educators. We will still stand for effective and welcoming schools for our students, proud and healthy communities for their parents, and salaries and bene ts that will sustain the families of Minnesota educators.

Kelly Gibbons, executive director of SEIU Local 284: “Minnesotans want a state where working families are able to come together and win better lives for our families. No corporate-backed attacks or court rulings are going to stop the school employees and healthcare workers of SEIU from fighting so every person in our state is able to live safe, secure and healthy lives. We know that sticking together in our unions is the only way to make these values a reality.”

Chet Jorgenson, president of Minnesota Association of Professional Employees: “Unions are how we unite to build better lives together. Today’s ruling will not stop MAPE from fighting for the values all Minnesota workers share: equitable wages, affordable health care, time to be with new babies and ill family members who need us, manageable student debt and a secure retirement.”

Brian Aldes, secretary treasurer of Teamsters Local 320: “The Teamsters union has faced stiff adversity from anti-union forces since its inception over 100 years ago and we have always persevered. We have seen the war on workers intensify in the last several years, but working people will not be deterred, will not be intimidated and will not be silenced. We will move forward and unite because workers, students and communities need us to be strong.”

James Pointer, President of Middle Management Association: “The ruling is lacking foresight and will have a significant financial impact on unions. However, it will not prevent us from continuing the important work we do, which is representing members, advocating for fair wages, and offering a community of support for our supervisors.”

Mary C. Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association: “This ruling is an attempt to silence working people’s voices, but nothing can stop nurses from standing up for patients in our hospitals and other facilities, and in our communities. Nurses will continue to advocate for quality patient care in the public and private sectors. We will not let this ruling enable hospitals to cut corners to increase their bottom lines at the expense of patients’ health by reducing staffing levels or investing in life-saving equipment.”

Jim Grabowska, president of the Inter Faculty Organization: “The Trump administration and the Supreme Court have proven they will stop at nothing to diminish the power of working people in our communities. The corporate special interests behind this case are drastically underestimating working people’s resiliency and determination. Our union takes great pride in helping provide opportunities for students around our state to receive an affordable, world-class education, with highly qualified faculty. We will continue our mission and this ruling will only strengthen our resolve to advance the needs of our students, our colleagues, and our communities.”

The Public Sector Union Alliance is a group of unions representing public employees across Minnesota working together to help fight off the attacks against organized labor and working families. Members include AFSCME Council 5, AFSCME Council 65, MAPE, Education Minnesota, Inter Faculty Organization, Middle Management Association, Minnesota AFL-CIO, Minnesota Government Engineers Council, Minnesota Nurses Association, Minnesota School Employees Association, SEIU Healthcare, SEIU 284, Teamsters 320.

Contacts:

Megan Boldt (megan.boldt@edmn.org)

Education Minnesota Cell: 651-245-9163

Josh Keller (jkeller@seiumn.org)

SEIU Minnesota State Council Cell: 612-270-2984