Rauner, SCOTUS underestimate the collective power of organized labor
by Pam Davidson, IDCCA At Large Executive Board Member, Knox County Democratic Party County Chair, President of UAW Region 4 Civil & Human Rights Council, UAW Local 865 Trustee, Knox County Board Chair, @KnoxCountyDems @UAW
We live in a pretty sick state when our Governor celebrates a partisan, far right, activist-led Supreme Court that decides to reverse decades of national law to set the stage for slashing the incomes and benefits of millions of American families.
It remains to be seen how the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 decision will, in the short term, impact the viability of public sector unions, their negotiating power, and their ability to influence the policy discussions in government. But it’s clear that Bruce Rauner is downright giddy about causing callous pain to the regular working citizens who make up organized labor.
In simple terms, the court decided that non-union members (known as fair share feepayers) aren’t obligated to pay the union anything for the services they provide. Even though the union negotiates contracts, wages and benefits that apply to all employees (including feepayers), the ruling allows these benefits at no cost to those who choose not to pay.
After the ruling, Bruce Rauner hit the national media circuit repeating his talking points about the great benefits for taxpayers and the reaffirmed protection of free speech. It was amazing that Rauner not only wore a tie, he also didn’t use his phony, folksy accent!
Bruce Rauner’s sick passion to achieve this ruling has nothing to do with free speech. And if it has anything to do with “protecting taxpayers,” he’s certainly not referring to working and middle-class taxpayers. The constant battle has everything to do with dismantling organized labor to get them to shut up. We all know the goal: If labor can be quieted or silenced, lots of people stop asking hard questions.
Beyond fighting for fair wages, benefits and a dignified retirement, we often overlook the other challenges labor unions take on. Unions help research and expose corruption and injustices that harm ordinary citizens. Whether it’s environmental damage, a big-box corporation’s efforts to sign their employees up for public aid, or the increased incarceration levels that are related to privatized, for-profit prisons. Bruce Rauner and his Wall Street pals hate it when somebody starts asking questions.
As we work toward the November defeat of Bruce Rauner, remember that our support for organized labor is stronger than ever – regardless of a Supreme Court decision. It’s simple a fact that unions always have, and always will, give voice to working families to build a strong middle-class.
It’s a dedicated and determined activist labor movement that Bruce Rauner wants to stop. It’s up to us to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Must Read from the “Pro-Business” media:
Janus was about politics and money – not free speech – Greg Hinz, Crain’s Chicago Business
“…tell the truth, governor: Weaker unions mean less money for union members. That’s what you wanted to do all along.”
Statement on SCOTUS Decision – Doug House, IDCCA President
“Make no mistake, the motivations for this case are rapacious and the implications of this decision are serious. But for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Reaction on SCOTUS Decision – Roberta Lynch, AFSCME 31 Executive Director
“The powerful interests behind this case have tens of millions of dollars to pour into their political agenda of trying to silence us. But we aren’t afraid and we aren’t going anywhere.”