President's Column: What our opponents fail to understand

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President's Column: What our opponents fail to understand

My fellow PSEA officers and I have been working the phones.

The three of us have called every local association president in PSEA this spring to update them on a case now before the Supreme Court called Janus v. AFSCME.

Deep-pocketed special interests are waging this court battle to prevent unions like PSEA from charging fees for the services unions provide. It’s part of a larger campaign to further rig the rules against working people.

Our opponents are doing this because they know what we know – that strong unions are the best vehicle that working people have to level the economic playing field for all Americans.

What they fail to understand is that when we stick together, nothing can stop us.

In recent weeks, we have been reminded just how true this is.

The brave educators in West Virginia stuck together in their fight for fair family wages. A nine-day strike in the Mountain State ended in early March with state officials approving a 5 percent pay raise, boosting the salaries of some of the lowest-paid educators in the nation.

Against all odds, the West Virginia teachers won – by standing shoulder to shoulder and making their collective voices heard.

Inspired by West Virginia, educators and support professionals in Oklahoma and Kentucky are now taking a stand for themselves and their students – fighting back against funding cuts, large class sizes, inadequate pay, and attacks on their pensions.

Meanwhile, there is growing momentum among graduate assistants at colleges and universities across the country to organize into unions to advocate for the salaries and benefits they deserve.

In each case, individuals are recognizing that they can do more together than they can apart.

In the same way, PSEA is only as strong as the members who belong. We all need to belong to effectively negotiate our salaries, benefits, and working conditions. Membership is strength.

The forces behind the Janus case may have the money advantage, and they are using it to try to undermine our strength.

But they will fail, even if the Supreme Court rules in their favor.

Why? Because we will stick together.

It’s our secret weapon. It’s what makes PSEA a force to be reckoned with.

It is our solidarity that will allow us to weather the coming storm. 

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