Today, the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court turned their backs on workers to side with the wealthy and powerful who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to attack and defund unions. In today’s decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case, the Court overturned a precedent that for more than 40 years had recognized the ability of unions to collect “fair share” or “agency” fees to compensate the union for bargaining contracts and providing other services.
The corporate and wealthy interests that bankrolled the Janus case know that without unions, workers don’t have a voice to fight for a better life and greater opportunity. And with today’s ruling, the anti-union and anti-worker forces think they’ve won. They think we are defeated. They couldn’t be more wrong!
PEF, like other unions in New York State and around the country have been preparing for this decision with vigorous member engagement campaigns involving thousands of one-on-one conversations with our members about the value of being a union member.
What the anti-union groups don’t understand is that the power of our union comes from our members and our commitment to fight for our families and our communities.
I’ve seen firsthand, visiting with many of you, the power of our recommit campaign. Our members are more engaged and mobilized than ever before.
Our strength in unity has given us the power to:
- Negotiate good contracts for our members with across the board raises and no givebacks;
- Thanks to re-built relationships with state lawmakers and support from Governor Cuomo, we were able to ensure the 2018 state budget included a package of amendments to the Taylor Law that help support unionism in New York. These changes, the first to the Taylor Law in 50 years, protects a public employee’s right to join a union, and a union member’s rights once they have joined a union. These changes will help us remain strong so that we can continue to provide New Yorkers with the quality services they need and deserve.
- Get legislation passed and signed into law in 2017, that will allow you to deduct your union dues from your state income taxes, beginning this year, 2018.
- Implement new programs to your PEF Membership Benefits Program including new legal benefits, free college for PEF members and their families, a new employee purchase program as well as Family Fun Days in every PEF region.
- Defeat Prop 1 calling for a New York State Constitutional Convention in last year’s election.
Now, in the wake of the Janus decision, you can expect the anti-union groups to step up their assault. Their goal is to mislead union members into giving up our power and voice by opting out of union membership. If you haven’t already, please take a moment now to sign a PEF membership card online.
Staff of the PEF Field Organizing Department are available to answer any questions or concerns you may have about today’s decision. Please call 518-785-1900 ext. 264 or email gro.f1561614812ep@ye1561614812ltneb1561614812t1561614812
In addition, the PEF legal department is analyzing the decision and we will continue to send you updates as we learn more details about exactly what this decision will mean for us.
PEF members, never forget that this is your union and our strength comes from each and every one of you. We can’t let this decision make us forget why we formed unions in the first place – to ensure good jobs with a decent wage, safe workplaces, good and affordable healthcare, the ability to retire with dignity and the strength to make our communities and our state a better place for all.
With big corporations and billionaires rigging the rules, now more than ever, we must pledge to stick together.
No court case, no billionaire and no propaganda campaign can stop us.