Issued March 29, 2016
WASHINGTON—In issuing a 4-4 opinion in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an attempt by wealthy special interests to restrict opportunities for America’s teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and others who provide our vital services for our communities to have a voice at work and join together to build a better future for their families. The result in Friedrichs is meaningful for millions of families across the country, as it is a rebuke against this well-funded attack on workers’ voice and ability to join together.
Corporate special interests have used their dark money to push through the courts their anti-worker political agenda to restrict voting rights, to limit the ability for workers to have a voice and to restrict opportunities for women and immigrants as part of their multi-front attack on working families and their communities. This corporate agenda has polluted America’s electoral system and civil political discourse and has made it increasingly apparent for working families that the stakes of the 2016 election couldn’t be higher.
Today in a news media call at noon EDT, the presidents of the nation’s largest public employee unions will discuss how working families are joining together as never before to fight back against this attack — and what members are doing to take this fight all the way to the polls this November.
"The Supreme Court today rejected a political ploy by the wealthy corporate special interests backing this case to make it harder for working families and the middle class to come together, speak up and get ahead. California’s educators will continue to work together to provide quality, safe and healthy schools as we continue to ensure our students get the quality public education they need and deserve. Now it’s time for senators to do their job and appoint a successor justice to the highest court in our land,” said Eric C. Heins, president of the California Teachers Association (CTA).
“From the beginning, this case was never about what’s good for our students; it was a thinly veiled attempt to weaken the rights of public employees, like teachers and other educators. The corporate interests behind this case know that if our union is weakened, it will be harder for us to stand together to negotiate good wages and benefits and to continue fighting for the things our students need. We must join together against these attacks because this country can’t grow stronger until we defeat those who want to hold down working people,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association (NEA).
“Millions of working people who understand the importance of their unions in bettering their lives and the wellbeing of their communities are breathing a sigh of relief today. Even so, we know this fight is far from over. Just as our opponents won’t stop coming after us, we will continue full speed ahead in our effort to mobilize our members and their neighbors around a shared vision to reclaim the promise of America. While we wait for Senate Republicans to do their job and appoint a new justice to the Court, we’re working hard for the future we want to see—one with vibrant public education from pre-K through college; affordable, accessible healthcare; public services that support strong neighborhoods, and the right to organize and bargain for a fair wage and a voice on the job,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).
“AFSCME members are more resolved than ever to band together and stand up to future attempts to silence the voices of working families. As public service workers learn more about the Friedrichs case, they are shocked to hear about such a political attack through the Supreme Court, and more motivated than ever to step up, get involved, and organize. It’s never been clearer that our most basic rights are at stake,” said Lee Saunders, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
“Working people are in the fight of their lives to make ends meet and build a better future for their families, and today the Supreme Court rightly protected their ability to join together in the workplace. We know the wealthy extremists who pushed this case want to limit the ability for workers to have a voice, curb voting rights and restrict opportunities for women and immigrants, and we know the way to stop them is by taking our fight to the polls in November,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).