Supreme Court ruling won’t silence PSEA

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Supreme Court ruling won’t silence PSEA

Voice: September 2018

Public-sector unions may have lost a key case before the U.S. Supreme Court this summer, but PSEA remains committed to serving its members and speaking out on behalf of good public education policies and working families.

“The reports of our union’s death are greatly exaggerated,’’ said PSEA President Dolores McCracken, paraphrasing an early champion of the labor movement and working families, Mark Twain.

She said the ruling in late June in Janus v. AFSCME was disappointing, but was hardly unexpected given the current makeup of the high court.

At issue was whether public sector unions could continue to charge a “fair share fee’’ to non-members for the benefits and representation they receive under collective bargaining agreements. The court ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who contended he shouldn’t have to pay a fair share fee because he disagrees with AFSCME’s positions.

McCracken noted that Janus was backed by well-heeled, anti-union forces as part of their assault on organized labor in recent years for ideological purposes.

“This case was financed by anti-union front groups who want to silence the voices of working people who speak up through their unions for better schools, adequate public services, and good jobs,’’ McCracken said. “If the goal of the people who funded this lawsuit is to silence us, I can tell you that it’s not going to happen.’’

Something else that will not change, she said, is the outstanding service that PSEA provides to its members. The Association will continue to work toward providing good salaries, benefits, protections on the job, policies that help kids, and a voice for working people.

McCracken said a major advantage PSEA continues to have is the solidarity of its 181,000 members.

“Together, PSEA members speak out for the kinds of policies that our public school students need to get the education they are entitled to and for the salaries, benefits, working conditions, and respect that every public school employee deserves,’’ she said. “That is what PSEA has always done, and that is what PSEA and its members will continue to do – regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision.’’