US Supreme Court Case Could Strip Union Rights from Millions of Workers

Working people across the United States will be joining a Day of Action on 24 February, on the eve of a crucial Supreme Court case that could strip union representation and collective bargaining rights from workers in the public sector.

The case, Janus vs AFSCME, is the culmination of a decades long corporate campaign led by the billionaire Koch brothers to weaken workers’ rights. AFSCME is the largest union of public employees in the US, with some 1.3 million members. The implications of the case go well beyond just the membership of ASCFME and could have knock-on effects across the US workforce.

The Koch brothers’ family fortune began with oil industry investments in the Soviet Union in the 1930s and subsequently in investments personally sanctioned by Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany. The family and their allies have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns in the US over many years to suppress voting rights and union organising, and against LGBTI people, gender equality, Muslims and migrants.

“The USA is already the most difficult developed country for workers’ rights. A Supreme Court ruling against working people and in favour of oligarchs like the Koch brothers would be a heavy blow to the right of people to exercise their democratic rights through their union. With the right to a union supported by a large majority of people in the US, and union membership increasing by more than 260,000 last year, union-busters are turning to the Supreme Court to obstruct union organising. We hope that the Court will rule in favour of ordinary people, not the vested interests of the ultra-rich,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.

24 February has a particular resonance in US labor history, as the 50th anniversary of striking African American sanitation workers’ first march with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis, Tennessee.

“We stand firmly with our US affiliate the AFL-CIO and all the working men and women of the US, in their efforts to defeat this corporate agenda and ensure that every worker can have the benefits of representation through their union,” said Burrow.