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Supreme Court attacks workers’ rights in Janus decision

In a narrow 5-4 decision Wednesday, the Supreme Court once again sided with corporate special interests and against America’s working families. In a case called Janus vs. AFSCME, the Court ruled that public sector unions may no longer assess so-called agency fees, the payment required of non-union members to cover the cost of collective-bargaining services.  These “fair share” fees are vital because such services provide benefits to members and non-members alike. In so doing, the Court overturned longstanding precedent and adopted a radical reading of the First Amendment pushed by anti-union forces. 

NALC President Fredric Rolando issued the following statement after the decision:

“This is an appalling decision that shows once again that elections have consequences,” Rolando said. “With the deciding vote of Neal Gorsuch, the justice nominated by President Trump in 2017, the Court has betrayed America’s workers once again – by doing the bidding of corporate interests who are dedicated to weakening America’s unions.  Our labor movement will not take this attack lying down. Just as NALC has learned to organize without agency fees, the unions representing public employees at the state and local level are gearing up to overcome this grossly unjustified ruling. We stand in solidarity with them.”

The ruling is especially galling because the Gorsuch seat on the Supreme Court was effectively stolen by the Senate GOP majority in 2016 when, for the first time in history, it refused to consider a president’s nomination of a justice for the nation’s highest court.  In fact, it refused to even hold a hearing for Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee. After the 2016 election, the same GOP majority then further trampled on tradition by eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations, making it possible for anti-worker judges like Gorsuch to be elevated to the Supreme Court. With the Janus decision, the cost of these unprincipled attacks on our democratic norms just went up. 

Adding insult to injury, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement today – opening yet another opportunity for President Trump to nominate another extremist, anti-union justice to the Court. 

The AFL-CIO and its unions are mobilizing to overcome the Janus decision. To learn more, visit