Fighting for Women's Equality

On the Supreme Court’s Decision in Janus v. AFSCME

June 27, 2018 | by

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Delia Coleman,, 415-575-2396


On the Supreme Court’s Decision in Janus v. AFSCME

Ruling Will Hurt Workers, Especially Women of Color


The following is a statement from Noreen Farrell, Executive Director, Equal Rights Advocates on the Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME, in which the Court ruled 5-4 that public sector unions may not collect “fair share” fees from non-union workers who benefit from the union-negotiated contracts but are not dues-paying members.

“Today, the Supreme Court has once again decided to ignore justice and the needs of working women, particularly the large numbers of women of color who rely on the benefits and wages of unionized jobs. Justice Samuel Alito, a fierce opponent of union rights, authored the majority opinion. The decision to attack working people’s basic right to come together and fight for better wages and working conditions wrenches the clock back to a time of robber barons squeezing every drop of labor from their workers with impunity. But while a war is being waged against working families from the courts and by this Administration, we are resolved to keep fighting.

This decision is particularly devastating for women who work under union contracts. The labor movement and the best practices it has won for its members have been crucial to women’s improved economic status, our access to regular and good-quality healthcare, and our access to opportunities and promotion, especially in male-dominated fields. Median earnings are higher for women of color in unions compared to non-union workers. Hispanic women have the largest earning advantage when they’re in unions. Women in labor unions are also more likely to have health insurance provided by their employer or union. With their decision, the Court has given employers permission to slowly choke off this kind of benefit for working women and their families.

As a result, this decision is a back-door attempt at not only curbing the advantages labor unions bring to working and middle-class families; it is also a terrible attempt to halt the advancement of working women in our tracks.

Since our founding in 1974, Equal Rights Advocates has spearheaded work dedicated to achieving economic justice for women workers, particularly those facing the most egregious forms of sex discrimination and unjust working conditions compounded by other barriers to fair treatment and equal opportunity in the workplace.

We will not let this unjust decision stand, and we are in solidarity with labor unions across the country who are a bulwark of economic justice for all working people.”


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