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Pennsylvania SEIU members respond to SCOTUS decision: “No Court case will stand in our way”
Despite ruling in The Janus v. AFSCME case, union members across the nation
will redouble efforts to unite more working people in unions, hold politicians accountable
for creating good, union jobs.
Washington, D.C., Even though the U.S. Supreme Court today delivered a long-expected decision in the Janus case backed by anti-worker extremists, SEIU members and leaders voice their resolve to continue sticking together, uniting more working people in unions and holding politicians accountable for creating more good, union jobs.
Charnel Brownlee, a school bus driver for the Philadelphia School District and 32BJ SEIU member:
“The Court made their decision, and so have the members of my union. We are determined to stand strong. We know how the union has benefitted us and our families. We’ve been able to support our communities because of our good union jobs. This decision will not deter us.”
Stefanie Henry, unit clerk and nursing aide, Westmoreland Manor, and member of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania:
“We should always be allowed to fight for changes that improve our nursing homes and resident care without fear of punishment. Working people need more opportunities to join unions, not fewer, and we will not let a court case stand in our way of keeping the middle class secure.”
Karen Sodl, Allentown School District Food Service and President of Local 391A of the Pennsylvania Joint Board of Workers United, SEIU
“Today the Supreme Court came down on the wrong side of history, but we are rising up. No court case, no billionaire and no propaganda campaign can stop us from coming together in unions to raise wages, improve jobs, and make our communities stronger.”
Tiffany White, Philadelphia caseworker, and member of SEIU Local 668:
Despite today’s decision, our union stands unbroken and unbowed. Our members see this decision, and the court case behind it, for what it is: the latest in a long line of attacks against working people. We know that as long as we stand together, no court case or ruling is going to take away our union.”
Matthew Yarnell, President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania:
“Despite continual opposition, nurses and healthcare workers have fought for – and won – better standards for themselves and their patients for decades. Today’s Janus decision will not deter healthcare professionals from working to secure better wages and benefits, safer workplaces and a healthcare system that provides every American with access to quality, affordable care.”
Gabe Morgan, Vice President, 32BJ SEIU & President of the Pennsylvania SEIU State Council:
“Unions have been under attack for years. Wealthy special interest groups can use their money to try to keep working people back but that only makes us fight harder. Nothing has ever been given to us; we’ve always had to fight. Today’s decision only strengthens our resolve and galvanizes us to hit the streets in mass for the 2018 and 2020 elections to elect candidates that support working people.”
Steve Catanese, President of SEIU Local 668:
“Our union was formed by workers who chose to stand together to create much-needed change. The corporate special interests behind the Janus v. AFSCME case expect that this decision will break us. But we’re still here, standing together. We’re not going anywhere.”
David Melman, Manager, Pennsylvania Joint Board
“Despite this decision, we still believe America can have a future where people no longer work two or three jobs and still live in poverty. We’re going to keep standing together to let our elected leaders know that America needs good union jobs.”
Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President:
“This decision is yet another example of how billionaires rig the system against working people, but SEIU members won’t let the extremists behind this case divide us. We will stay united, help working men and women who are fighting to form unions and call on our elected leaders to do everything in their power to make it easier for working people to join together in unions.”
Despite today’s Janus ruling, working people refuse to allow any court case to deny them the ability to care for their families and communities. Pennsylvania SEIU members will be using #Union and #WeRise on social media to show their unity in the face of the Supreme Court’s decision. Working people who are organizing to win their unions are also using the hashtag to publicly call for more good, union jobs.
Even in a hostile, anti-worker environment, unions are currently experiencing a resurgence. Millions of workers have used their power in numbers to raise wages, win affordable healthcare and have a voice on the job. Over the last several years, 20 million workers across the nation have won wages increase as a result of the Fight for $15.
The Janus v. Afscme case is the latest in a decades-long attack by wealthy special interests determined to roll back hard-fought gains by working people through their unions and hurt unions financially. The National Right to Work Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center developed and bankrolled this case, using a single Illinois state worker to front their attacks on union rights for millions. These groups are part of a network of right-wing think tanks and litigation firms funded by billionaires and corporate CEOs who use their massive fortunes to rig the economy by attacking the rights of working people. These groups spent more than $80 million to push the case and are preparing to spend more to create a cheap and pliable workforce in the United States.
The Janus decision sets the stage for nationwide anti-worker policies that have been proven to lower job standards and hurt communities. In states like Wisconsin that already have similar anti-worker legislation on the books:
- Average wages are nearly $6,000 per year less.
- Poverty increased dramatically. Overall, declining union membership contributed to one-third of the disappearance of the middle class.
- Health benefits decreased by nearly 3%
- Workplace fatalities jumped by an incredible 49%.
How Today’s Unions Help Working People: Giving workers the power to improve their jobs and unrig our economy and politics, Keystone Research Center: In Pennsylvania, unions represent more than one in every eight workers, a total of 723,000.[iii] These numbers make organized labor one of the largest institutions in our nation and our state.
Despite the Janus ruling, Pennsylvania union members will continue organizing in their workplaces and communities, working to strengthen their unions and elect worker-friendly candidates – evident in the recent Conor Lamb special election victory – who have pledged to stand with union workers and middle-class families.
Service Employees International Union: With over 2.1 million members worldwide, the Service Employees International Union is dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. In Pennsylvania, SEIU represents nearly 80,000 workers in the areas of healthcare, public services, property services, school employees, laundry, and distribution.