Janus v. AFSCME: The Attack on Working Families

Supreme Court case threatens to silence workers’ collective voice

The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to hear oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME on Feb. 26, 2018. A decision in favor of Janus would make the entire public sector “right-to-work” in one fell swoop.

Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) is the culmination of decades of attacks on working people by corporate CEOs, the wealthiest 1 percent, and the politicians who do their bidding to rig the economy in their favor. These are the same forces that have pushed for limiting voting rights, attacked immigrants, and undermined civil rights protections. Their goal with Janus (as it was in Friedrichs v. CTA) is no secret: They want to use the Supreme Court to take away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions.

It is essential, says CTA President Eric Heins, to keep educators’ collective voice strong. “Unions give us the power to speak up for our students, families and communities. Unions such as CTA use their collective voice to advocate for policies that benefit all working people — like livable wages, affordable health care and great public schools.”

Unions have played a critical role in building and protecting the middle class in America. They provide hardworking people economic stability for their families and give them the tools to build a good life, home and education for themselves and their children.

In an era when the courts have determined that corporations are people, Janus v. AFSCME could further weaken the voice of real working people. But, as Heins says, it is not in CTA’s nature to let that happen. “We can’t allow this, and we will not allow this. We will continue to organize and to engage our members so that we will maintain and strengthen our voice.”

“We must stand together to ensure that America has an economy that works for everyone,” he adds. “For 154 years, CTA has been standing up for working people, our students and the communities we serve. No court case will stop our determination and advocacy for our students and our profession.”

For detailed information about Janus, its impact and ways to take action, visit And to see all that CTA has done for students and educators over the past 154 years, go to

Janus v. AFSCME

What is the issue?

More than 30 cases across the country have been filed over the past three years designed to weaken unions in a variety of ways, such as attacks on payroll deductions, collective bargaining, and the collection of fair share fees.

Janus v. AFSCME, now before the U.S. Supreme Court, is crafted to overturn 41 years of constitutional law established in Abood v. Detroit Board of Education. (The law means public sector unions can charge all employees fair share fees for activities related to “collective bargaining, contract administration, and grievance adjustment purposes.”) A decision in Janus is expected between March and June. The current makeup of the Supreme Court makes it likely that Abood will be overturned and fair share fees will be ruled unconstitutional.

Why is it happening?

Since its founding in 1863, CTA has been steering the direction of public education in California. We are the original education reformers — speaking out for children, educators and our communities to build a better California for all. CTA has had many successes over the past 154 years, much to the dismay of those looking to expand their own agenda and profit from public education.

Our proven record of advocacy, our willingness to stand up to anyone, and our reputation of political power make CTA a target for anti-union forces who want a piece of the $76 billion spent on California’s 9 million students in public schools and community colleges. But CTA is about kids, not profits. Always has been, always will be!

Kids Not Profits

Kids Not Profits () is a public awareness campaign about privately run charter schools, how they operate, and the billionaires behind them in California, who are spending millions of dollars to influence local school board elections statewide.

Privately managed charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools exempt from some rules applicable to other public schools. They are not held accountable and can operate without transparency. Evidence shows this lack of accountability and transparency:

  • Has led to financial gains for private for-profit charter operators.
  • Has cost taxpayers millions in waste, fraud and abuse.
  • Has led to harmful consequences for students.

Kids Not Profits developed out of a growing concern of educators, parents, and civil rights and community groups that greater accountability and transparency are needed for California’s charter schools. On you will find facts, figures, reports and updated news stories to help you become more aware of the impact current laws have on our students and communities, and take action.

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