AFL-CIO: What Working People are Saying About the ‘Janus’ Supreme Court Case

Labor News

In a similar case, decided in March of 2016, the Supreme Court deadlocked. In Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the case challenged the constitutionality of agency fees that public workers in California are required to pay to unions. (Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Newscom)

Reprinted from The AFL-CIO’s blog Now by Kenneth Quinnell on October 12, 2017.

The US Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, meaning the court will hold a hearing and make a ruling on the case. The case started with the billionaire governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, attempting to undercut the voice of public service workers through the courts. Janus is part of a broader strategy by corporate-funded organizations like the State Policy Network, which admits that the whole point of Janus is to strike a “mortal blow” and “defund and defang” unions. Working people are speaking out against these attempts to use the courts to attack their rights.

Here’s what they are saying:

Jeff Price, AFT Local 3 member, teacher at Central High School, School District of Philadelphia:

“My union just went through a lengthy contract fight in Philadelphia. We had to fight hard to protect our students’ basic needs, such as having at least one nurse and counselor in each school and ensuring that kids had necessary textbooks and materials. And we had to fight back against the district’s desire to eliminate class sizes and get lead testing for the school’s water fountains. Most people assume that the union only fights for teachers’ rights, when in reality, most of our contract is there to protect the basic rights and needs of our students. Those rights are at grave risk in Janus. …

AFL-CIO now 10/12

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Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at

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