By HENRY GARRIDO
We cannot sit on the sidelines. The stakes are too high.
The attack against working people— bankrolled by people like the billionaire Koch brothers—is relentless.
And they are closing in on us.
Last year, we won a temporary reprieve when the U.S. Supreme Court deadlocked on the Friedrichs case, which aimed to defund public employee unions by allowing workers to withhold dues payments despite receiving union services.
The anti-union National Right Work Legal Defense Foundation is now behind several similar lawsuits making their way up the judicial pipeline to the Supreme Court.
With the financial support of the foundation, government employees in three states — school workers in New York, teachers in Pennsylvania and medical center workers in California — simultaneously filed lawsuits in January that challenge the constitutionality of the right of unions to collect dues.
A Trump appointee would likely tip the balance of the court in favor of the plaintiffs, which is why we are part of coalition opposing the president’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch to fill the seat of deceased Justice Antonin Scalia. Meanwhile, anti-worker members of the U.S. Congress have introduced legislation that would make the United States a right-to-work nation.
As a candidate, Trump portrayed himself as a champion of working people, especially blue-collar white workers whose livelihoods have been hurt by globalization, deindustrialization, the decline of unions and rising inequality.
But we always knew his carefully crafted pro-worker image was a lie. And Trump’s actions so far—particularly his executive orders and appointments — raise alarm about his lack of commitment to our issues, including protecting women’s rights, civil rights and the environment; checking the power of business; supporting vital government services and promoting decent wages.
His executive orders include cuts to business regulations, a freeze on government hiring, and the notorious temporary ban on Muslims from seven countries from entering the United States.
His cabinet choices are disturbing, and reflect an anti-labor conservative ideology:
• Billionaire Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an advocate of charter schools who exhibited an ignorance of educational policy during her appointment hearings.
• Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is an outspoken critic of Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act).
• U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has faced charges of racism for decades.
• Secretary of Energy former Texas Gov. Rick Perry now heads an agency he once vowed to dismantle.
In New York, we are deeply concerned about the possibility that voters in November will support a ballot question on whether to hold a convention on the New York Constitution.
A convention would offer reactionary interests the opportunity to gut public employee pensions, weaken workers’ compensation, decrease government services, abolish collective bargaining rights and even harm public education.
So join us.
We urge you to vote “no” on the New York constitutional convention ballot question. At the DC 37 website, you can write your senators and urge them to vote against the nominee to the Supreme Court.
At DC 37, we are in the midst of an important restructuring campaign to build an army of activists and make our union stronger.
Get involved with your local. Become a Member Action Team participant, shop steward or Volunteer Member Organizer.
Your activism is crucial to the preservation of rights we have built up over decades —rights that help protect the future of your children and grandchildren. Get involved