WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) released a new report detailing the impact on workers’ rights since the Supreme Court’s decision to weaken public-sector unions in the Janus v. AFSCME case, which was decided one year ago today. The report also examined the role of dark money campaigns to defund unions.
“The Supreme Court’s harmful Janus decision was the capstone on a campaign by conservative, right-wing forces in our country to harm our unions,” Senator Hirono said. “Their relentless, all-out assault on working people and the unions who represent them continues to threaten the livelihoods of public sector employees. This timely report highlights the crucial role unions play in lifting millions of Americans into the middle class – especially women and people of color. Passing the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act will ensure that every public employee has the right to organize, act concertedly, bargain collectively, and strengthen the voice of public employees in the workplace.”
“Unions helped create the middle class in Michigan and our country by fighting for fair wages and working conditions,” Senator Stabenow said. “The Janus v. AFSCME decision was an attack on working men and women. With so much now at stake, workers are standing up and fighting back.”
“Corporations and big Republican donor interests engineered a decades-long campaign to unravel the rights and basic protections of American workers through the courts. One result is the disgraceful 5-4 partisan decision in the Friedrichs/Janus saga,” Senator Whitehouse said. “It’s time to for Democrats to shine a light on the dark money forces out to weaken workers and enrich themselves, and to stand with American workers in the face of this secretly-funded onslaught.”
In their report, Senators Hirono, Stabenow, and Whitehouse found that Republicans have continued to push anti-worker legislation and strategies. Details of the report include:
Despite consistent attacks on union workers’ rights to organize, act concertedly, and bargain collectively, the report also indicated that public sector employees and union members are fighting back.
On Thursday, Senator Hirono spoke on the floor of the Senate to reflect on the anniversary of the Janus decision. In her remarks, she denounced the all-out attack on working people and unions, and warned about the danger of partisan, ideological decisions from the Roberts Court’s conservative 5-4 majority.
Senator Hirono also called on the Senate to pass the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act of 2019, which would guarantee the right of public employees to organize, act concertedly, and bargain collectively in states that currently do not afford these basic protections. Senator Hirono, along with 35 of her Senate colleagues, introduced the legislation earlier this week.