You are here

Supreme Court case: Local unions discuss impact on state workers

MAPE joined AFSCME, Education Minnesota and SEIU at a press conference to discuss how Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31, heard today by the U.S. Supreme Court, could affect Minnesota government workers.

Janus press conference

In the photo on the right, MAPE Executive Director Lina Jamoul (center) talked about the important role of unions at today's press conference.

The justices are considering whether public sector unions may require workers who aren’t members to pay dues to help cover the costs of collective bargaining. Eight hundred public service workers rallied at the State Capitol over the weekend, sending a message that an adverse ruling on Janus will affect Minnesota families, regardless of whether they belong to a union.

“Fear of workers and our collective voice is what the Janus vs AFSCME lawsuit is all about. This collective voice in the workplace gives us the ability to speak up for ourselves, and our families and communities,” MAPE Executive Director Lina Jamoul said. “This case is really about billionaires and corporations wanting to take away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions. They don’t want us to fight for the values all workers share: equitable wages, affordable health care, secure retirements, manageable student debt and paid time off to spend with new or sick family members who need us.”

“We will not let this lawsuit destroy the labor movement because our struggle is the struggle of millions of families in Minnesota,” Education Minnesota President Denise Sprecht said. “Whatever the future brings, we won’t let them down.”

“Working people join together in strong unions to get fair pay, affordable health care and a secure retirement,” says Dennis Frazier, an AFSCME child protection worker from the Iron Range. “Billionaires behind the Janus case want to take that away from us. They don’t think we deserve to live happy and grow old with dignity.”

Janus Jenna Bjork

MAPE member Jenna Bjork (pictured in the photo on the right), a senior epidemiologist at the Health Dept., discussed how grateful she was to take paid parental leave last year after her son Roderick was born. “With all the things I was worrying about with the new baby, taking unpaid leave from work was no longer one of them. My union fought for paid parental leave because we believe companies and governments need policies to support new parents. This is what unions are for – to make everyone’s lives better.”

Mike Poke, a custodian in Wayzata Public Schools and SEIU member, said he is able to fight for students because he has the power of his union behind him.

"With my union, I've not only fought for better pay and benefits for families like mine, but my union has stood by me when I've joined with students and families to fight back against unfair treatment, especially for students of color. It's that voice, for better lives for our families and a stronger voice to fight for our students, that this court case is attacking," Poke said.

“No matter how the Supreme Court rules on this case, Minnesota unions will never stop fighting for the values all workers in our state share,” MAPE Executive Director Lina Jamoul said.

MAPE is part of the Public Sector Union Alliance, a group of unions representing public employees across Minnesota working together to help fight off attacks against organized labor and working families. Other members include AFSCME Council 5, AFSCME Council 65, Education Minnesota, Inter Faculty Organization, Middle Management Association, Minnesota AFL-CIO, Minnesota Government Engineers Council, Minnesota Nurses Association, Minnesota School Employees Association, SEIU Healthcare, SEIU 284 and Teamsters 320.