United Methodist Women Statement

Supreme Court Janus Decision Hurts Unions and Working Families

Supreme Court Janus Decision Hurts Unions and Working Families
United Methodist Women joins other civic groups to rally for a bill requiring a fair living wage at Assembly 2018 in Columbus, Ohio.

United Methodist Women laments the Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME Council 31, which threatens strong unions, the quality of public sector jobs and hurts working families. 

Unions represent all workers in the unit, whether they are union members or not—and all workers benefit from wage, benefit and workplace gains. Union security agreements allow unions to collect fair share or agency fees from employees who are not union members but are covered by the contract. These fees cover union expenses for collective bargaining and contract administration and cannot be used for funding the union’s political activity.

The Janus ruling will eliminate these fair share fees, thus weakening the union and working families.

Ending Economic Inequality is a mission priority for United Methodist Women and a central goal of the organization’s Living Wage for All Campaign. This initiative reminds us that policy changes over the past 30 years have contributed to a huge wealth and wage gap in the United States. Assaults on unions, like the Janus decision, that impair workers’ rights to organize and to collective bargaining contribute to wage stagnation and decline. This has impacted both low-wage workers and middle-class professionals.

In recent years court challenges to “fair share” public sector payments to unions have been financed by a small group of foundations with ties to rich and powerful corporate lobbies. Many of these organizations are financing both legal challenges and legislative assaults on workers’ rights. Their goal is to further weaken the bargaining power of working people and continue to shift wealth to the wealthiest. While the plaintiff in this case argued for individual freedom, the ruling will actually undermine the freedom of workers to build strong unions and defend workplace rights.

The United Methodist Social Principles (paragraph 163) affirm every person’s right to a job at a living wage and public and private workers’ right to organize for collective bargaining without fear of reprisal. 

The United Methodist Church has been committed to a living wage and the right to organize since at least 1908. The 1908 Social Creed decried child labor and supported the economic rights of workers, better workplace conditions, better wages and worker safety. God’s economy is one where all are included, and there is enough for all—if the community remembers to share equitably.

Posted or updated: 6/27/2018 12:00:00 AM

United Methodist Women Communications

Yvette Moore
Director of Communications
phone: (212) 870-3822