UNITED WE BARGAIN,
DIVIDED WE BEG
Janus vs AFSCME: The attack on our union, our bargaining power, our livelihoods
Public sector workers across the country—including school employees—are facing attacks by anti-union groups. A recent decision in a Supreme Court case—Janus vs AFSCME—is the latest attack that aims to break the collective bargaining power we have through our union. If you don’t know what collective bargaining power is and why it matters to you, see this short video, or just know two important facts about it:
- Collective bargaining gives you and every one of your co-workers a legally-binding contract with your employer that guarantees and protects your rights on the job, including your wages, benefits, and working conditions. Plus it gives you and your co-workers the ability to win more.
- The power in collective bargaining power is derived from the sheer number of union members in SEIU Local 99. We are 30,000 members strong and this unity empowers us to negotiate for better wages, benefits, job protections, and improvements to the services we provide to students and families. The attacks on workers have just one purpose: to break our unity, defund our union, and silence the voice of workers like you.
What Happens If We Do Nothing?
Doing nothing to defend against these attacks is like giving a burglar the keys to your home to take whatever they want.
The things we have and need—a livable income (and the collective bargaining power to increase your income), health care benefits, sick time, our basic job rights—can all be taken from us or diminished. If we do nothing, we allow the balance of power to be tilted in favor of the employer. Our employers become emboldened to start cutting our wages, hours, benefits and more because they know we’ve done nothing to fend off this attack.
Doing something means understanding and educating your co-workers about what these attacks are trying to do to hurt us, sticking together with your co-workers as union members, and taking lead in building strength in your workplace.
“We need to stand united because the typical goal of any employer is to get the very most while giving the very least. If we aren’t united, they will try to take away everything — sick time, overtime, job protections, good pay. That’s why I’m standing with my union and signing a membership card.”
“United we bargain, divided we beg. There’s truth to that. We all know there are a lot of issues we need to fix at LAUSD, but the fact is we can’t do it alone. Together, we have the power to protect what we have and keep making improvements to our jobs and our schools. That’s why I’m sticking with Local 99 and signing a union card.”
“With a union, I have job protection and security, seniority and a set schedule. I can plan my future. If my coworkers and I feel like something isn’t right at our job, we have a voice. We only notice things when they’re gone, like health insurance. Together we fought for it and together we’ll continue fighting to improve it and expand it to more members.”
“I worked hard for many years at LAUSD and I’m now able to enjoy my retirement benefits. I’m still involved in our union because I think it’s important for all workers to be able to retire with dignity. We can only protect these benefits by being united.”
HOW WE RESIST
We can act to not only resist the attacks on working people, but become a stronger and more resilient union. It starts with knowing how we’re being attacked. Secondly, it takes a commitment to stand in solidarity with your fellow education workers and all working men and women. Last, but not least, it takes leadership and organizing to continue the work of building strength and unity among education workers.
HOW WE RESIST
We can act to not only resist these attacks, but become a stronger and more resilient union. It starts with knowing how and why we’re being attacked. Secondly, it takes a commitment to stand in solidarity with your fellow education workers and all working men and women. Last, but not least, it takes leadership and organizing to continue the work of building strength and unity among education workers.
Know What Janus vs AFSCME is Really About
Resistance starts with being informed and educated. The Supreme Court’s decision on Janus vs AFSCME opens the floodgates for more attacks on working people. Know what this case is actually about, what it means for you, and to recognize the tricks anti-union groups will employ to attack us.
Stand in Solidarity
Stand in solidarity with your fellow education workers by renewing your membership with SEIU Local 99 and staying a union member. Solidarity is the one thing no one can take away from us. It’s also our best defense. By re-committing to union membership, you’re making the statement that you’ve got the backs of your fellow education workers.
Lead & Organize
We must stand up and lead, now more than ever. If you care about the well-being of your co-workers, your students, your family and your community, know that the anti-union groups behind the attacks don’t. Doing nothing, being a bystander amidst these attacks hurts you and the things you care about, and helps our enemies.