CBTU President Statement on the Janus v. AFSCME Decision

Supreme Court Rules Against Workers

Statement by Rev. Terry Melvin
President, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists

Today, June 27, the Supreme Court of the United States decided to destroy workers’ voice and empower corporations with their ruling in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case. They have sided with big business and made a decision that infringes on our First Amendment Right to freely organize and speak up. Today America took another step backwards to a time when working men and women had no voice on the job, a time when it was ok to discriminate against people of color, women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ, a time when big business could pollute our waters and land with no repercussion. Today we stepped backwards, but looking forward the path is clear, we must organize, we must fight, and we must unite.

The right of workers to organize into unions has been the fundamental catalyst to our Labor Laws, the weekend, child labor laws, and the rise of the middle class. Workers in unions have been able to take on billionaires and multinational corporations. We as working people have used our collective power to make positive change in this country and this Supreme Court has made a decision to attempt to strip us of this power. This will not and cannot stand. This is just one of multiple assaults against us, but like the attacks before, it will also fail, because the people united can never be defeated.

Humans have 3 natural responses to danger. We freeze, we flee, or we fight. In the face of this attack we don’t have the luxury to flee or freeze. We must fight, we must fight like never before. We must fight like our forefathers who built our unions, like our forefathers who demanded freedom from slavery and discrimination, like our forefathers who demanded access to the ballot box. We must fight to preserve the American Dream that all Americans, not just a select few, can prosper and make tomorrow better than today. This is just a ruling on paper that can be changed by collective action. There was once a document that said Blacks were 3/5 of a man. We changed that rule and we will change this as well. Not through lobbying, not through begging, but by fighting back. By collectively joining together all sectors of this movement, by all workers of this country coming together, by the will of people demanding justice in the face of inequity.

This Supreme Court and this Government do not have the best interest at heart of all Americans. They are institutions currently run by elites who want to exploit and destroy the dreams and hopes of all working men and women. We as a people have never allowed injustice to stand. We will never allow our voices to be silenced. This is a blow to working people, but it is not our death. Rather it is our call to arms. Rise up brothers and sisters and fix the system that is rigged against us.