L.A Mayor Eric Garcetti Wednesday led a chorus of criticism from the Southland over the Supreme Court ruling dealing unions a serious blow by barring mandatory union fees.
“For Los Angeles, a positive, productive relationship between management and labor is essential to effective governance. The Supreme Court’s ruling today threatens that balance here in our City” in addition to being bad public policy for our country,” he said in a statement.
“Wednesday’s decision overturns decades of sound legal precedent that supported a stable collective bargaining system for the City workers who deliver our most basic services. In doing so, the Court has harmed the interests of taxpayers who pay our public servants to build infrastructure, clean and pave our streets, keep the lights on, and protect our neighborhoods from crime and disaster.”
Rusty Hicks, the president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, vowed unions would fight back.
“Wednesday, Trump’s Supreme Court made a decision big employers hope will weaken our unions. The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor has news for them. When workers can choose – without fear or threat – to either stay in their union or leave it, they will choose to earn higher wages, protect their benefits and keep their workplaces safer. Those realities will overpower those who believe working people are worth less.
“To our adversaries we say be careful what you ask for — when we fight, we win.”
Assuming a similarly defiant stance, Cal Soto, Director of the Workers Rights Program at the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, called for unions to fight back.
“On Wednesday morning, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to gut the rights of public sector unions to organize and collectively bargain on behalf of workers they are legally bound to represent,” Soto said in a statement. “This attack is a slap in the face of years of court precedent that has recognized the importance and benefit of creating fair bargaining opportunities for workers protecting their rights.
“While this decision is a blow to labor’s legal protections, it is not the death knell the far right, Trump, and the Koch brothers long for. The labor laws we often take for granted were won by civil disobedience, wildcat strikes, and expressions of power that came from concerted — not individual — action. There is incredible power in united workers acting in concert to stand up against exploitation and discrimination despite the current frameworks that seek to thwart that action.
“Janus (the ruling) certainly represents a shift for organized labor. However, now is the time to devote resources into organizing comprehensive campaigns that build support among large majorities of workers across diverse sectors. Now is the time to propose a plan of action that will transform the lives of workers on the job and in their communities. Wednesday we call on our elected officials, our union leaders, our worker centers, our organizers, our brothers and sisters that work across the country to reject the Trump/Koch worldview and band together in a renewed fight to gain labor protections and build bargaining power of all workers.”
SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris, who serves as a vice president on the AFL-CIO’s executive council, said in a statement that “the Court made the wrong decision; a decision in favor of increasing the power of employers at the expense of their workers. Without engaged workers, union protections become more vulnerable. This ruling is a direct attempt to weaken unions, the very organizations who allow workers to speak together as one, to have a voice in their wages, their safety at work, and their healthcare and retirement.
“The Supreme Court*s decision directly overturns a decision made by the Court in 1977. Have workers lives improved so much that unions can now be so blatantly attacked? Are workers all better off now? Are employers sharing in their success with all those who make them successful? No.
“This shameful decision only serves to strengthen our resolve to find ways to protect working families in this country. Now more than ever as professionals, we must come together and renew our commitment to speak as one. To be strong in the face of all attempts to minimize us. We know that fighting for a better life for you and your family is what unions do. It’s time for unions, and the workers who make them vibrant and strong, to show this court and those who would attack and diminish working people that this is unacceptable. When workers come together, workers win, and that did not change Wednesday.”
SAG-AFTRA represents approximately 160,000 actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other entertainment and media professionals.
But Republican Assemblyman Matthew Harper of Huntington Beach was ecstatic over the ruling.
“Wednesday’s ruling is a victory for the millions of workers who should not be forced to pay into a union as a condition of employment. I applaud the Supreme Court for taking the first step to give public employees more control over their paychecks,” he said in a statement.
“In California, we should build upon this ruling to pass right-to-work policies that protect the freedom of choice for all employees. While I praise the victory of Janus, California Democrats and unions continue to install barriers that obstruct workers from opting out of unions.”