This week has been full of particularly bad news from the U.S. Supreme Court — from upholding the President's travel ban to Justice Kennedy's retirement to the Janus opinion.
Supreme Court opinions can often impact public education in surprising and unexpected ways, but the court's decision in Janus is a direct assault on educators and other public workers, the culmination of years of attacks by billionaire-funded front groups and politicians. Educators, along with students, parents, and community members, must be at the heart of any successful education justice movement. In the wake of Janus, the Schott Foundation, along with many of our grantees and partners, are standing with public school teachers and declaring, in the words of the old union slogan, an injury to one is an injury to all.
Public sector unions are at the core of our democracy and education system. They ensure that teachers, school staff and other public sector employees can collectively bargain to protect workers’ rights. Union bargained protections for educators often lead to benefits for their students. Having caps on class sizes and teacher planning time built into the work day are benefits for educators that have a positive impact on student achievement. In states where collective bargaining has already been restricted, it negatively impacted not only teachers and employees, but also student achievement. This decision is an unprecedented right wing attack on our communities. It will exacerbate economic inequality and hurt working families and our democracy. Read more >
Today's Supreme Court decision on Janus doesn't just deal a blow to unions - it chips away at workers' ability to use collective action as a means of bringing about equity in our economy. As a national network of grassroots organizations of working families, we are deeply troubled by the ruling. This is yet another barrier for hard-working people to lead prosperous, healthy, and fulfilling lives. With this decision, powerful billionaires continue to rig the economy against working people and their families. We can’t let them.
Janus will hurt the entire progressive ecosystem, including grassroots organizations that work with labor unions to lead the fight for racial and economic justice. By attacking the democratic infrastructure we need to defend our communities, particularly in this moment of political attack, this decision hurts us all.
We will all need to work harder to find innovative ways to sustain our organizing work over the long term. And none of us can rest. We have to stand and resist attempts to undercut a core element of American democracy — unions. Read more >
“Judicial disruption does not get any greater than what the Court does today.” — Justice Elena Kagan
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court joined the attack on the public goods and services—including our schools—that make our communities whole. The case called Janus vs. AFSCME is one more attempt to weaken the power of teachers, health care workers and other public sector employees. The case was funded by the same interests that are getting richer by the day through their campaign against the safety net, against the minimum wage—and against our schools. The goal of Janus is to weaken the power of teachers and other public sector workers to organize for the public good.
When teachers in West Virginia, Oklahoma, Colorado and other states walked out of their classrooms this spring to demand greater state investment in public schools, they were not just fighting for their own self interest. They were fighting for better schools. Their protests pulled back the curtain on decades of policy decisions that have stripped public schools of resources in order to further enrich already wealthy corporations and investors. Read more >
The Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance:
“This ruling is an extraordinary example of judicial activism on the part of a court whose majority claim to be aligned with conservative principles,” said Network for Public Education Executive Director, Carol Burris. “It is clear this was a politically motivated decision designed to reduce the power and voice of public sector unions—including all of the unions that represent teachers, nurses, custodians, instructional assistants and administrators in public schools.”
The implications of the decision go far beyond the protection of workers’ rights. It will have a deleterious effect on the well-being of all public school students. Teacher unions have been strong advocates for well-funded, safe public schools for America’s children. Read more >
We know what #Janus means. We fight harder for our union rights. We stand united as community and labor. We elect new leaders who stand up for workers, students, and all of our working families. We take Congress. We take the Supreme Court. We fight. We win. pic.twitter.com/bHhgVQJfw8— MEJA (@massedjustice) June 27, 2018
Unions are the best way to unrig our economy and democracy. We’re calling on our elected leaders and candidates to do everything in their power to make it easier for working people to join unions. #Union #Janus— Advancement Project (@adv_project) June 27, 2018
STATEMENT: In response to #SCOTUS’s ruling in #Janus v. AFSCME, Meg Fosque, lead MRNY organizer said:— Make the Road NY (@MaketheRoadNY) June 27, 2018
“This decision cripples the unions ability to fight for better working conditions, better wages & rights for workers — and it’s particularly devastating for women of color.” pic.twitter.com/bl7QoSrFlP