As many of you have heard by now, on June 27th the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision overturned more than four decades of precedent by making fair share fees for Public-Sector workers unconstitutional in the Janus v. AFSCME case. From day one, this case was backed and funded by billionaire corporate extremists like the Koch Brothers to divide working people and pad the pockets of the wealthiest among us at the expense of the workers who create their profits.
So what exactly does this decision mean for Public Sector Unions?
Simply put, this case forces all Public-Sector Unions in California and across America into Right-to-Work.
What is Right-to-Work?
“Right-to-Work” for less, as it is more commonly known in the Labor Movement, is an attempt by wealthy CEOs and corporations to forward their own agenda at the expense of working people by making the collecting of fair share fees, or dues, unconstitutional. This allows for some people to benefit from Union contracts, services, and representational activities without paying anything. Over time this sort of structure weakens Unions, disrupts solidarity and works against working people across the bargaining table when fighting for higher wages, benefits and better working conditions.
Proponents of this legislation claim that it prevents workers from being “forced” to join a Union, but this is already the case. “Right-to-Work for less” legislation is really meant to strip Unions of their ability to support pro-worker candidates and legislation in favor of corporate interests.
Many states that have already gone “Right-to-Work” have seen serious consequences such as:
• Higher poverty rates
• Fewer Workers with health insurance
• Workers pay more out of pocket for insurance costs
• Higher infant mortality rates
• Less investment in education
• Higher workplace fatalities
• Lower wages & more
The truth is Unions are more relevant today than ever before. Unions need more bargaining power, not less, to adequately protect and fight for worker’s rights. Fewer dues paying Members in our Local would weaken our ability to lobby for pro-worker legislation, such as our Film & TV Tax Incentive, and reduce the services we provide to our Sisters & Brothers in the Entertainment Industry.
How does the Janus Decision currently impact Teamsters Local 399 Members?
Our Industry is Private Sector, so for now, no changes will immediately take place for our Membership from the Janus decision. However, the attacks against working people will continue. As we have mentioned before, we are still tracking a National Right-to-Work bill that has been circulating in Congress and currently has 123 Republican co-sponsors (Up to now 128 since this article was published). A National Right-to-Work bill would take on both Public and Private Sector Unions. Despite living in the labor friendly state of California, a National Right-to-Work bill would affect the entire Entertainment Industry and our Members who are part of it. The purpose of sharing this information is not to scare our Membership, but to instead prepare you for what is on the horizon and discuss the ways in which we can stand in Solidarity to fight back.
Across California, Union families, our friends, neighbors, elected leaders and allies are standing up to send a clear message that no Janus Court Decision can extinguish the necessity of working people standing together to make the American Dream possible for everyone. Because we know that when working people stand together, amazing victories are achieved. We need our Members to stand with working people today to not only condemn the Janus decision, as well as other attacks on working people on the horizon, but to amplify the need for strong unions to fight back against an economy that’s rigged for the advantage of the wealthy and powerful.
What are some ways to stand with Working People?
1. Issue a statement condemning the Janus decision and supporting the work Unions do to build strong communities in California. Join us on social media to support Unions using the hashtag #UnionStrong.
• Follow our Teamsters Local 399 social media pages: Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for updates regarding how working people are standing together to organize, fight back and win for all working people and families. Also, if you are not receiving email or text message updates from us, make sure to sign up here: www.ht399.org/our-members/get-connected/
2. Continue to urge elected officials to talk about the value Unions provide to working people and families across California and our Nation.
3. We encourage all of our Members to take a stand for working families by contributing to D.R.I.V.E. (Democrat, Republican, Independent, Voter Education). Your contribution will support grassroots action by Teamster families to stand up to Big Business interests and your membership to D.R.I.V.E. will help elect political candidates who care about working people.
How You Can Support D.R.I.V.E.
• Make a one time or recurring donation to D.R.I.V.E. – If you didn’t get a chance to sign-up at our April General Membership Meeting, contact the Union Hall at (818)-985-7374 to get a D.R.I.V.E. contribution form or simply mail your payment to:
Teamsters Local 399 Department of Political & Legislative Action
25 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20001
• Make an Online Contribution or have your Family Members and Friends support the partner fund TEAM: https://teamster.org/teamfund/contribute
• Sign up to receive “Action Alerts” from D.R.I.V.E. “Action Alerts” will provide you with simple ways to get involved in the ongoing efforts of D.R.I.V.E. Sign up at: teamster.org/content/drive
• Members working under our Commercial and Universal Tours Agreements that are interested in making direct contributions through payroll deductions, please email email@example.com for a copy of the form to be completed.
4. Make sure you are Registered to VOTE!
Make your voice heard – VOTE! Exercise your power and make your voice heard by making sure you are registered to vote. The best way to support working families is to elect Candidates that support middle-class workers and families across the Nation. We need our Elected Officials to work for all and support the efforts of Unions that are fighting for good wages, fair working conditions, health and retirement benefits and more for all workers.
If you are a Resident of California and you want to register to vote simply head to: registertovote.ca.gov.
5. Sign a Teamsters Local 399 Solidarity Card (Coming Soon!)
We will be organizing an internal Solidarity Drive to show that no matter what attacks come at Teamsters Local 399 Members in the coming months, we choose Union and will stand together in the fight for higher wages, great benefits and better working conditions. Stay tuned for more information.
If you have any further questions about the Janus Decision or “Right-to-Work” legislation please contact the Union Hall and ask to speak to your Business Agent: 818-985-7374 or email firstname.lastname@example.org