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Janus decision attacks worker rights, igniting a new generation of union activists

Statement by ATU International President Larry Hanley on the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Janus vs. AFSCME, Council 31 case:

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark anti-worker ruling that advances the attack on labor by trying to limit our power to fight. But, in the process, it has already sparked a new generation of union activists.

“While this decision is both unjust and, frankly, unfair and stupid, it’s happening at a time workers, especially in right-to-work states—are more conscious than ever of the need to unite and fight back. Recent successful teachers’ strikes in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Oklahoma have shown what happens when workers’ backs are pushed against the wall.

“At the ATU, we didn’t take a wait and see approach. We knew where the Supreme Court was heading, so we used the past year to rediscover our roots, strengthen our locals, and engage tens of thousands of members who have recommitted to the trade union cause. 

“Behind Janus is the coordinated attack on labor rights by the Koch brothers, other billionaires, and the anti-workers groups they back like the National Right to Work Foundation and Americans for Prosperity. They want every minute of American life to be spent toiling under the bosses’ thumb. They don’t believe in democracy or the rights of the individual worker. They know that to give even more of our money to the wealthy to create a permanent plutocracy, they can’t have workers organizing and standing in the way. 

“Their power play has awoken a sleeping giant – organized labor. The labor movement has historically been at its strongest when under attack, and this is the greatest assault in a generation. Workers – whether in a union or soon to be – are more motivated than ever to reclaim what’s been taken from them.”