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A Dagger in the Heart of Workers and Our Democracy: What's Behind the Janus Court Ruling


A Dagger in the Heart of Workers and Our Democracy: What's Behind the Janus Court Ruling

Bonnie Castillo

The Supreme Court’s transparent effort to decapitate public sector unions in its 5-4 Janus vs. AFSCME decision on Wednesday places a wide swath of public health and safety protections in its crosshairs as well.


The “Felonious Five” in the Court are with the Oligarchs.

We must Abolish the Court.


I guess I’m vindictive, if human leaches like Janus don’t want to pay union dues, fine, lets figure out a way to deny them the benefits they don’t want to pay for. The lowlifes like Janus have been a scourge on unions in right to work states for years, this ruling is nothing new in those states. Labor lawyers, get busy, their must be a legal way to eliminate union benefits from these losers, accomplish that, and watch them beg to pay dues.


Union dues’s number one purpose is to build up a reserve that can be used to help union members survive the economic repercussions of a prolonged strike. Because without the ability to carry out a prolonged strike, the union holds no real power.

While this ruling my not decapitate the public unions, it does effectively gut them of their economic ability to ever put up a prolonged and united fight again.


I have to disagree. While the ruling was clearly motivated by a profound animosity towards organized labor it’s effects are not going to be all that serious. My wife, for example, works at and is a union official in the faculty union of Temple University. Temple has had a strong and assertive faculty union for decades, and has never had the right in its contracts to charge an agency fee to non-union faculty members, much less require them to join the union. This has been troublesome because often non-members will have grievances and under state law, the union is required to handle those grievances, which is grossly unfair and illogical.

I would argue that closed shop unions where those who don’t want a union are required to pay dues or even an agency fee to compensate the union for doing things that improve pay, benefits and working conditions for all workers, members and non-members, can actually hurt unions and the broader union movement. The extra money raised often ends up leading to the local having paid officers and often quite well-paid staff, as well as luxurious offices. In the worst cases (not Temple and its union to be sure), union officers end up living in homes and neighbors much finer than those of their members, sending their kids to better schools, etc. because of the funds they rake in from members. This has led to the phenomenon of business-model unions in the US, as opposed to militant unions and a mlitant labor MOVEMENT led by leaders who came up throught the working ranks and who identify viscerally with their members and earn their respect for erving for little or no pay. With union representation down at 10 percent and only 6.5 percent in the private sector we need unions like the latter, not like the former.

One problem with closed-shop unions is of course that if unwilling members are forced to have dues deducted from their checks they become disgruntled members sowing discord in the membership. Better to have them on the outside and to make efforts to recruit them as willing members by pointing out the advantages of solidarity. Closed-shops make for lazy organizers, which is, today, the last thing the union movement, such as it is, needs.

I say forget the Supreme Court loss and get on with the taxk of rebuilding a real labor movement.

Dave lLindorff
founding editor of ThisCantBeHappening! and a long-time labor union activist (co-founder of the National Writers Union)


A lot of voters chose to vote for Trump in the last election and it was clear that Trump would nominate a new Justice to the Supreme Court that would ensure a majority of conservatives on the court. Apparently this is the kind of decision that Trump voters wanted and they got their wish. This is likely the kind of decisions that will come from this court for many years now.


All people of wealth should read about the Russian revolution. The rich will never see it coming. And it’s coming! I might not see it but it’s coming! When there’s only haves and haves not Revolution will rise! And it will be bloddy! So koch brothers read about the Russian revolution. Funny how humanity repeats itself.

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
John F. Kennedy

"The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
― Vladimir Lenin

"And it is clear that in the colonial countries the peasants alone are revolutionary, for they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The starving peasant, outside the class system is the first among the exploited to discover that only violence pays. For him there is no compromise, no possible coming to terms; colonization and decolonization is simply a question of relative strength.”
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth


Hope lives. Justice Thomas is not the healthiest looking guy, and Justice Roberts has severe epilepsy, which can lead to bad falls.

Of course Ginsberg is in her late '80s and has survived two bouts of deadly cancer, but if you watch the documentary now out about her life, and watch her working out in the gym for an hour a day – including doing real push-ups, and planks for 26 seconds at a stretch, you’ll feel confident she’s not going anywhere soon.


Four points:
1 as to the headline, what’s behind the decision is to gut any remaining countervailing power to total corporate rule. The intent is not just to deny workers a voice in the workplace, but to deny them a voice in the national and local halls of power.
2 My guess is the reality many will voluntarily pay dues the first year, less and less each year. There is no doubt there will fewer members, fewer resources, and less clout. But there is always the possibility of unintended consequences, unions getting more militant to attract members.
3 Union weakness is not just due to the bosses, its also due to top down leadership that so often thought they can ignore rank and file input. That was the case with my union and increasingly members tuned out.
4 Those who don’t like this attack on labor have to work harder to counter the foolish “progressives” who undermined the Democratic candidate in November 2016. Had we been smarter, this assault on labor would not have been successful.


I saw this clown talk on C Span on Friday. Brought his wet behind the ears lawyer. This Janus had the nerve to deny that he was bought and paid for and we know he was. Also, he said he was “forced” to take a raise when he didn’t want one. Huh??? What a dope. Take his pension and privatize him for not joining. He’ll be crying. He has also said that he didn’t like unions because they support dems, and dems like abortion. What the h??? He is insane. Hope he is accused of child abuse as he is a social worker and he has no one in which to turn.


Good point, but unfortunately this is about so much more than unions. For starters the rethugs didn’t even want social security way back when FDR was in office. Remember when Bushie Boy 2 wanted to privatize medicare and SS? The big question is for these corporate thugs who also decimated the global economy- when is more not enough?


When St Ronnie was in office- he broke the back of unions when airline workers went on strike.


I say get rid of Janus, and deny him his job- make him an at will employee who can be let go without cause.


Like everyone should be.
You should be able to leave any job if you can find another you like better.
You shouldn’t have to employ anyone you don’t want to employ.
That’s the way I’ve worked for some 50 years.