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Janus Decision Is a Threat to All Working People

June 27, 2018

Contact: Michelle Nicolet
(P) 312.368.2675

Chicago, IL— Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, a case that originated in Illinois, is an attack on working people and unions in Illinois and across the country.

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law and more than 80 other organizations joined in filing a brief with the Court in support of public-sector workers and their unions. The brief goes into considerable detail about the importance of public-sector opportunities for workers, especially for women and people of color, and the role unions have played in increasing employees’ economic well-being. 

The 5-4 majority decision threatens the economic security of all working people. The immediate impact is on public-sector workers and unions in states like Illinois that have adopted “fair share” agreements. These workers—firefighters, teachers, nurses, social workers, police officers, 911 operators, and many others—deserve not only our respect, but the opportunity to earn a decent living. The right to organize and collect dues has helped ensure that there is a path out of poverty, especially for those workers who historically face limited job prospects. Black women, in particular, will be most affected by this decision, since they are disproportionately represented in public sector employment. Where there are unions, public employment has come to mean good, middle-class jobs. The long-term impact of today’s decision is the threat it poses to all workers in their efforts to raise workplace standards for everyone, everywhere. We must work together to ensure that that threat does not become reality.


The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. We specialize in practical solutions. We advocate for and serve clients directly, while also building the capacity of the nation’s legal aid providers to advance justice and opportunity for their clients.

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