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June 27, 2018




Statement By Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.

June 27 2018


Today the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME struck a devastating blow to weaken union power and will make economic justice for all Americans more difficult to achieve.

The Supreme Court in Janus affirmed and is promoting so-called “right-to-work” laws that mean almost the exact opposite.  Corporations and the rich crush labor union organizing efforts through legislation, litigation and disinformation campaigns.  Workers wages have declined, and inequality is growing more extreme daily as a direct result of an imbalance in economic power.

With the anti-union ruling in Janus, conservatives hope more employees will choose to become freeloaders and by law still reap the benefits of labor union negotiations and contracts but refuse to join the union and pay any dues.   Conservatives will next move to decertify unions whose dues-paying members constitute less than a majority of the workplace.

America’s Economic Golden Age lasted just 28 years between 1945-1973 when unions were strongest.  Since 1973, measured by a wide variety of economic factors, American’s economic conditions have been going downhill, largely due to a weakened labor movement.  As a study by the Economic Policy Institute shows, when unions were at the height of their membership - representing 33.4 percent of employees in 1945, the top 10 percent of America pocketed a generous 32.6 percent — about a third — of the nation’s income. In 2015, with public and private sector unions reduced to only 11.1 percent of the work force, the richest 10 percent pocketed 47.8 percent — nearly half — of the national income.

Strong unions have benefited all Americans.  Labor joined with civil rights to pass the 1964 Civil Rights, 1965 Voting Rights Act and 1968 Open Housing Act.  Unions are helping to advance the interests of women.  They have fought to give more Americans health care.  Unions have provided more Americans livable wages, the 8-hour workday, worker safety, livable wages, vacations, day care, a cleaner environment and more.  Weakened unions will hurt productivity.


There are only two sources of material power: (1) economic; and (2) political.  Corporations and the rich have economic power.  Workers must organize power into unions.  The government’s role should be to provide a legal and political framework to balance corporate and labor interests and power.


The Citizens United decision has strengthened one-dollar, one vote and Janus will weaken one-person, one vote.  Politicians will now be more easily bought and they in turn will pass legislation less representative and beneficial, and more damaging, to the average American.

The Preamble to the U.S. Constitution says for the people to form “a more perfect Union” they must “establish justice.”  Children recite the Pledge of Allegiance, “with justice for all.”  Dr. Cornel West says, “Justice is what love looks like in public.”  Rev. Al Sharpton says, “No justice.  No peace.”  Dr. Reinhold Niebuhr said, “Justice requires a balance of power.”


Elections have consequences.  More than at any time in recent history democracy is at stake on November 6, 2018 in the midterm elections.  Vote like your democracy depended on it.  It does!


Frank Watkins