U.S. Rep. Pocan: Statement on Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME

Contact: Ron Boehmer 202-225-2906

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, which undermines public sector unions’ long-held practice of collecting “fair share fees” for the services they are legally required to provide workers.

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME will have far-reaching effects for millions of American workers. The fact is that when unions are strong, workers have better wages, better working conditions, and ultimately, better lives. However, when unions are under attack and weakened by corporate and special interests, workers suffer. Today, President Trump and the GOP’s donors won the latest battle in stripping protections for workers and further rigging the system in favor of millionaires and billionaires.

“As a 30-year union member and a lifelong resident of Wisconsin, I have witnessed first-hand the positive effects that unions can have on people’s lives, as well as the destructive results when politicians, like Wisconsin’s own Scott Walker, attack worker’s rights. Despite today’s Supreme Court ruling, I’m committed to fighting for public employees and ensuring that unions can continue to make a difference in working peoples’ lives.

“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.”

Pocan introduced the Workplace Democracy Act in the U.S. House of Representatives in May 2018 and it currently has 58 co-sponsors. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduced companion legislation in the U.S. Senate and it currently has 16 co-sponsors. The legislation would make it easier for workers to join unions in a number of ways:

  • It would end “right to work for less” laws by repealing Section 14(b) of the Taft Hartley Act, which has allowed 28 states to pass legislation eliminating the ability of unions to collect fair share fees from those who benefit from union contracts and activities.
  • Under the legislation, when a majority of workers in a bargaining unit sign valid authorization cards to join a union, they must have a union. Companies would not be allowed to deny or delay a first contract with workers who have voted to join a union. Unions would be given the right to have their voice heard through secondary boycotts and picketing. And workers would have the right to know when their company spends millions of dollars running anti-union campaigns.
  • The bill would also stop employers from ruthlessly exploiting workers by misclassifying them as independent contractors or denying them overtime by falsely categorizing them as a “supervisor.”
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