Last month’s tragic Supreme Court decision, Janus v. AFSCME, is the culmination of a decades-long right-wing war on working people. The landmark decision expands the so-called “right-to-work” regime to the entire United States. Now, in every state, unions in the public sector cannot require the non-union employees they represent to pay fair-share fees, even though they benefit from union representation.
Despite the optimistic sounding name, “Right-to-Work” laws are specifically designed to destroy labor unions. This has been at the top of the goodie list for the conservative billionaire Koch Brothers and their cronies in ALEC and the ‘Freedom Foundation’, who want to “defund and defang” Labor and any regulatory hurdle in the way of unlimited corporate power.
Now, the State Policy Network, a web of billionaire-backed right-wing groups who bankrolled the Janus case, is launching a multi-pronged “opt-out” campaign. Utilizing social media, airwaves and canvassing, they will reach out to public-sector workers to convince them to abandon their unions. Soon they will be deploying their forces to California, perhaps even Sonoma County.
Sadly, the response from the national Democratic Party has been anemic. Its members must come to understand two things: First, there is no Democratic Party without organized labor. Period. Secondly, that the traditional methods of “business unionism” have failed to build the strong workers movement needed to combat the oligarch front groups. Candidate for CA 10th AD, Dan Monte, is opposed to the Janus decision. He represents the progressive wing of the Party that is ready to fight back to protect our right to join a union.
The front groups are hard to trace, but their ulterior motives are not: decimate organized labor, weaken the power and voice of workers, and decimate the Democratic Party. They want submission to their dark and reactionary vision.
Labor is at a crossroads. The recent wildly successful wildcat teachers strikes in red states demonstrate that power still resides in the people. We need to revive a militant union movement that can win.
— Mark Malouf, Sonoma