Statement from Congressman Denny Heck on Janus v. AFSCME
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Representative Denny Heck (WA-10) released a statement following the Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME:
“Throughout our history, the strong voice of unions has served as a critical part of growing our economy and middle class. I know because I was raised in a union family, and would not be where I am today without the unions of which my parents were proud members. Our district is strong and prosperous because of the public servants who educate our children, put out fires, and patrol our streets.
“Unions will continue to defend the rights of teachers, police officers, firefighters, and all public sector workers who serve our communities with courage and bravery every day. This Supreme Court decision accepts the flawed position of special interests with deep pockets who are dedicated to destroying organized labor. When our courts make it harder for workers to advocate for fair working conditions, they hurt our public sector’s ability to attract talent. That will end up harming all of us. In fact, we need to find ways we can attract more talent to replace a rapidly retiring public sector workforce.
“I continue to ask those in power, when does America get a raise? As housing, health care, and everyday costs of living skyrocket, we need to do all we can to empower workers and allow them the tools to earn fair pay and benefits.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME will affect 17.3 million public employees, including public school teachers, firefighters, and police officers. The decision reverses 41 years of legal precedent and existing laws in 22 states and the District of Columbia upholding the right of unions to collect “fair share fees” for the services they are legally required to provide to workers.
According to the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, from 1980 to 2014, wages for the bottom half of income earners grew by one percent, while wages for the top one percent of earners grew by 205 percent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, union workers employed by state government in the U.S. earn on average 17 percent more than their non-union counterparts, and union workers employed by a local government in the U.S. earn 35 percent more than their non-union counterparts.
Congressman Heck represents the 10th Congressional District of Washington state in the U.S. House of Representative, which includes Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Washington state’s capital. He is a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Financial Services Committee, and a member of the New Democrat Coalition.
In November 2017, Congressional Democrats introduced a plan to Give Workers the Freedom to Negotiate A Better Deal.