Yesterday, the US Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled against public sector unions nationwide. In Janus v. AFSCME the court ruled that fair share agreements are unconstitutional, overturning a 1977 Supreme Court ruling that has stood as precedent on this issue since that time. While this is bad news for public sector unions across the country, this decision has no direct impact on Wisconsin as these fair share agreements were abolished here with the passage of Act 10.
We can expect a well-funded, dark money, national campaign encouraging union member to drop union membership following the decision. We can also anticipate short-term reductions in NEA membership and NEA resources as adjustments are made to deal with this coming change.
That said, MTI provides a shining example of how a union can maintain strength and membership in the absence not only of fair-share agreements, but also with severe prohibitions on collective bargaining.
We have been sharing that story with our brothers and sisters across the country – from Seattle to St. Paul to Massachusetts – as they prepare for their post-Janus reality. Our sisters and brothers will need to continue to hear that message of hope and renewal in the coming months.
What we have learned from our response to Act 10, as well as the teacher strike wave across the country, is that laws do not determine the limits of our collective possibilities, we do.