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Tens of millions of public employees like you are the target of Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), a case that could come before the U.S. Supreme Court this fall. The lawsuit is the culmination of a decades-long effort by this country’s powerful right wing to strip public-sector employees of the pay, working conditions and benefits that unions have fought for and won over the years.

These right-wingers have set out to torpedo the financial structure of public-sector unions by attacking their funding model. Under current law, public employees covered by union contracts are under no obligation to pay for the political activities of their unions. But states may pass laws that allow workers to be required to pay a fee to cover their portion of collective-bargaining costs. The fees assessed by unions on these non-members are known as “agency fees.”

In March 2016, the Supreme Court voted 4–4 in the case of Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association to affirm a longstanding court precedent declaring fair-share union fees constitutional. But now, plaintiffs in the Janus case — like the Friedrichs plaintiffs before them — challenge the “fair share” requirement that public-sector workers in unionized jobs who choose not to join their union must still pay their fair share of the cost of union representation and services. Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by Donald Trump to serve on the Supreme Court, is likely to side with the four justices who were willing to rule with the plaintiffs in the Friedrichs case.

The right-wingers who back this case argue that every single thing that a public-sector union says to the government in collective bargaining, including asking for pay increases, is political speech. They claim this case is about the First Amendment rights of public employees. Don’t believe them. It isn’t. It’s about destroying unions and hurting the workers they defend.

It is vital that we stand together to protect what we have.

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#UnionProud Stories

For Patricia Ginestri, being a union member meant the difference between isolation and support. For Cassandra St. Felix, it meant getting her job back. And for Gloria Winograd, it meant life-saving health benefits as she tackled Stage 4 cancer.

Read these stories and more at #UnionProud Stories.

10 reasons to be union loud and proud (photo) See our 10 Reasons flier

UFT by the numbers See our UFT by the numbers flier

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