Two days before the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing a landmark labor case, unions rallied together throughout the country to stand up and fight against a rigged system.
In Ohio, around 3,000 union members, including an estimated 100 members of the building trades, gathered at noon on Feb. 24 in the rain at the Ohio Statehouse for the Working People’s Day of Action rally.
Held days before the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus vs. ASFCME, the rallies were a way to fight for the freedom to come together in strong unions, equitable pay, affordable health care, quality schools, vibrant communities and a secure future.
Event speakers included labor leaders and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles). Ryan told the crowd they must unite and defend one of the last institutions in the U.S. that advocate for the working and middle class people.
The Day of Action rally was a warning to special interests that unions will not roll over and give away rights earned through collective bargaining.
At stake in the Janus case is public sector So-Called “Right to Work” laws, which will ultimately be decided by a court with a conservative majority following the 2017 appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the bench.
The court will determine whether non-union members should pay “fair share” fees for union representation at the bargaining table.
If the court rules in favor of Janus, it will overturn its 1977 ruling Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. In Abood, the court ruled workers who do not want to join a union, but are represented by one, should not have to pay union dues, which can be used for political expenses. However, if state law allows, these individuals are required to pay “fair share” fees to cover just the union’s costs of negotiating contracts and representing members.
Should the court rule in favor of Janus, it would mean So-Called “Right to Work” could be enacted nationwide in the public sector.
Public sector unions could take a major financial hit, as non-union represented individuals would no longer pay fees to the unions who represent them at the bargaining table.
The elimination of “fair share” fees would likely lead to additional court cases in an attempt to enact So-Called “Right to Work” nationwide in the private sector.
Other rallies took place in San Diego; Washington, D.C.; Miami; Detroit; St. Paul, Minn.; New York; Philadelphia; Memphis, Tenn. and Chicago.
The Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council opposes any effort to make Ohio a So-Called “Right to Work” state. Please visit our Right to Work page for more information on why So-Called “Right to Work” is wrong.