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Janus and the war on unions

 Photo by claudiodivizia/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by claudiodivizia/iStock / Getty Images

The NY Daily News recently published an article explaining the continuing war being waged against workers by corporate interests. It’s no secret that Big Business and those who profit from it have long harbored a grudge against working people and their unions, often resorting to some shameless and desperate tactics to erode workers’ rights, wages, pensions, and benefits in order to grab an even bigger share of the nation’s prosperity for themselves. An important battle in this war is currently being fought in the Supreme Court in a case called Janus v. AFSCME.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, in his article “The Janus-faced war on unions,” explains that, in Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee and a seemingly average guy who says he “just doesn’t want to pay agency fees to his union,” these corporate interests found someone who could put a friendly face on their agenda and become their Trojan Horse. But make no mistake, their goal is to destroy unions.

However, Janus may not be their perfect spokesman after all. It turns out, their champion doesn’t agree with his corporate backers’ larger mission. He recently went off-script and, as Politico reported, told a crowd that “collective bargaining is beneficial to people and workers,” admitting to reporters “that he joined the case because he didn’t want his union fees to be spent supporting Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.”

Mark Janus, like so many, is not actually opposed to unions—he’s just been misinformed. The strategy of this latest anti-worker campaign has been to convince workers like Janus that they need protection from having their dues go to political causes they don’t support. But workers already have this right. In the US, you cannot be forced to donate to a politician, cam­paign, or political organization you don’t support. And as a union member, you have the clear right to simply NOT donate to your union’s political fund, and plenty of union members do not. This has been the law for decades. Janus v. AFSCME is a “cure” for a nonexistent disease. But like Janus, a lot of workers will be tempted to swallow it without reading the fine print.

Trumka writes,

The corporate interests behind this case know a decision in their favor will hurt all working people, including Janus. And that’s exactly what they want.

They know that workers are strongest when we stand and fight together for our economic future. Their goal is to break that bond and leave us with a weaker voice on the job.”

To read the full article in the NY Daily Newsclick here.