Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This #GivingTuesday, whatever is your first priority, your second priority has to be independent media.

2021 has been one of the most dangerous and difficult years for independent journalism that we’ve ever seen. Our democracy is facing existential threats including the climate emergency, vaccine apartheid amid deadly pandemic, a global crisis for biodiversity, reproductive freedoms under assault, rising authoritarianism worldwide, and corporate-funded corruption of democracy that run beneath all of this. Giving Tuesday is a critical opportunity to make sure our journalism remains funded so that we can stay focused on all your priority issues. Please contribute today to keep Common Dreams alive and growing.

Please Help This #GivingTuesday -- Though our content is free to all, less than 1% of our readers give. We’re counting on you. Please help Common Dreams end the year strong.

Hundreds of union members held a rally outside of San Francisco City Hall as the U.S. Supreme Court begins to hear oral arguments in the Janus vs. AFSCME case that union memebers and supporters claim would limit their right to union representation by allowing members to not pay dues but still receive representation. (Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

'We're Not Going Anywhere': Sanders, Warren, and Ellison Vow to Stand With Workers After SCOTUS Undermines Labor Movement

"Unions built America's middle class and unions will rebuild America's middle class."

Julia Conley

Progressive voices in Congress spoke out on Wednesday against the U.S. Supreme Court's attack on public sector unions, as the nation's top justices ruled 5-4 against the largest public sector union in the country in a landmark case over union fees—and vowed to continue fighting for workers' rights alongside working Americans.

Progressive voices in Congress vowed to stand with workers and defend labor rights on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the largest public sector union in the country in a landmark case over union fees.

Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) highlighted the infectious energy of protests and strikes by teachers across the country this past spring—with educators and supporters in red states including West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and Arizona walking off their jobs to demand higher wages, education funding to make up for years of cuts, and an end to corporate tax cuts.

The protests resulted in raises for teachers in West Virginia and Oklahoma as well as more than $130 million in funding for schools in Arizona.  

Under the Supreme Court's ruling in Janus vs. AFSCME, public sector workers who opt not to join unions will not be required to pay union fees—a decision that could drastically undermine union representatives' ability to negotiate on behalf of workers.

As Ellison alluded to his tweet, the case of Mark Janus, an employee of Illinois's health department, against AFSCME received backing from the right-wing Illinois Policy Institute. One of the group's largest supporters is Richard Uihlein, a wealthy Republican megadonor who has also given over $1 million to groups working to create a more conservative Supreme Court.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a video featuring labor leaders including American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten and Lee Saunders, president of AFSCME, and attacking the corporate interests which helped deliver a crushing blow to public sector workers.

"Unions built America's middle class and unions will rebuild America's middle class," Warren said. "Working people deserve fair pay, good benefits, predictable schedules, and a real voice in the workplace. That's why I stand with unions all the way. We're not going anywhere."

"No one wanted this case," Weingarten told the New York Times regarding Janus. "But the gestalt around the country has been to turn an existential threat into an opportunity to engage with our members like never before."

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also denounced the Supreme Court's decision, while issuing a rallying cry to workers across the country.

Journalist Sarah Jaffe joined the lawmakers in urging American workers to look to the recent teachers' movement as a guide for how weakened unions can secure fair treatment.

"The court has decided that labor peace will no longer be traded for fees; labor can look to West Virginia for an example of what the end of labor peace looks like," wrote Jaffe in the Times. "Healthcare and education workers in particular—but also public employees in general—have a distinct ability to bring the community together around their demands...The recent strike wave has reminded us that unions win more when they bargain with politicians from a place of strength. And the power that unions have—the power they have always had—is in people, not in dollars spent."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

... We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Research Reveals How PR Firms Have Spent Decades Fueling Climate Misinformation

"The best time to stop working for fossil fuel clients was 20 years ago, when we had much more time to stop the climate emergency. The second best time is now."

Jessica Corbett ·

Progressives Decry US Gun Control Failures After 'Truly Sickening' Michigan School Shooting

"A 15-year-old shooter may have picked up the weapon, but Congress—through its inaction on gun violence—may as well have handed it to him."

Brett Wilkins ·

New Climate Study Predicting More Rain Than Snow in the Arctic 'Rings Alarm Bells'

"There are huge ramifications of these changes," said the lead researcher, "all of which have implications on wildlife populations and human livelihoods."

Jessica Corbett ·

Durbin Introduces Amendment to End 'Legacy of Cruelty' by Closing Guantánamo

"It's time at long last to face reality and... close the detention facility at Guantánamo. Let's put this dark chapter behind us once and for all."

Brett Wilkins ·

With SCOTUS Set to Hear Abortion Case, Anti-Choice Groups Prepare to Enact 'Post-Roe Strategy'

Right-wing groups are lobbying lawmakers to pass state-level restrictions and ban sales of abortion pills, should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo