The Janus Court Case
The Supreme Court's decision to uphold Janus v. AFSCME, is a true wake-up call for all public employees across the nation. Janus v. AFSCME is based on a complaint from Mark Janus, a child support specialist for the state of Illinois. He pays "fair share" payments in order to contribute to the costs for his union to bargain his contract and protect his rights, benefits and pension. Janus claims that these payments to AFT's sister union, AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, should be considered political "speech." He petitioned the Supreme Court to consider it as such under the First Amendment and wishes for them to take away the requirement that he pay his "fair share."
It's a weak argument.
Over the last 40 years, lower courts and the Supreme Court itself have dismissed it, recognizing that "fair share" or agency fee payments support the hard work of collective bargaining and grievance representation, and are separate from any union's political endorsements and contributions.
Thus, the courts have said fair share contributions are common sense: Federal law requires labor unions to represent everyone in a workplace, including non-dues paying workers, so it's fair to ask non-members to contribute only to the costs of negotiating the favorable contract that keeps their families secure and healthy.
Over the years, conservative states – "red" states – have objected. Their legislators have created "right to work" environments where workers get the benefits of union representation with no obligation to pay agency fees. That is, non-members will enjoy union benefits – but only as long as a union without dues – and fee-paying members is able to survive. Workers in right-to-work states, on average, make $6,100 less than in collective bargaining states, are probably working without health insurance, and are 49 percent more likely to die on the job.
With the Janus decision, all public sector workers in the United States are now "right to work," something that could hurt the budgets of public sector unions. Over time, as in right-to-work states like Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and, more recently, Wisconsin and Michigan, workers may watch their annual wages stall and drop while benefits wither away.
This is the scheme of corporate billionaires who seek to openly "shrink" government and reduce their own tax obligations while eliminating or privatizing public services. Included are wealthy families like the Kochs and the Devoses who have funded "right to work" front organizations with dark money for decades. These industrial titans, as in America's Gilded Age, do not see the value of public employees who serve, rescue, protect, educate, help and heal our neighbors, our families and our fellow citizens.
Should UESF members be alarmed?
Yes, Janus is a real threat to solidarity, strength and resources that keep us fighting at the bargaining table and in the street. But despite all challenges, UESF members have been uniting together in UESF every year around issues important to our students, to our communities and to our families.
Of course, this natural growth is why AFT and its state and local affiliates like UESF, will always be in the crosshairs of billionaires.
In anticipation of the Janus court challenge, a coalition of local, state and national unions have focused for two years on engaging members with a clear message. We cannot be onlookers in the workplace. We can no longer allow others to step up while we hang back. We can no longer take a good contract for granted. We have to reach out to everyone to help build a strong union that can fight back against anti-public school billionaires. We have to show up.
The Oregon School Employees Association, for example, held a two-day emergency Leadership Summit late last year to map out a post-Janus battle plan. "It was an eye-opener," said Marnie Meuret, an OSEA vice president. "We need to stand together and help each other – not just ourselves. We need to get off our behinds – now!
On Thursday, June 28th, Womens March and partners are organizing a mass civil disobedience in Washington, D.C.
We call on women from all communities to descend on our nation's capital and demand the safety and freedom of immigrant families and children.We will put our bodies on the line to demand an end to this administration's the zero-tolerance policy that automatically criminalizes undocumented immigrants and tears families apart.
We will take escalated action in D.C. on June 28th demanding lawmakers and federal officials do everything in their power to #EndFamilyDetention. On Saturday, June 30, we will rise up in cities across the nation to say #FamiliesBelongTogether. These children and families are counting on us. We can not allow these atrocities to go unchallenged. The time to ACT is NOW.
Marching is no longer enough, not when this administration is enacting policies that violently separate families, incarcerate children in prison camps and automatically criminalizes their parents. Not when we see photos and videos of children separated from their families and held in child prison camps. Not when we hear their cries for their parents and see their fear and trauma.
This is a DEFINING moment. One that will shape our generation. We need bold, strategic and targeted action. We cannot be silent.
*Direct action training and legal support will be provided to all women participating in nonviolent civil disobedience*
Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity
Latino Community Foundation
Call to Action!Protest Friday, June 29, 9:00 A.M.U.S. EPA Office75 Hawthorne Street, San Francisco(Between Howard and Folsom, 2nd and 3rd Streets)
For more information and to have your organization join and endorse, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 415-447-3904 x 102
Action Alert – PA Parole Board Must Grant Janet and Janine Africa Parole
Take action Monday, June 25th - Wednesday, June 27th
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole: 717-787-5699
Send Email message: email@example.com
On Saturday, June 16, MOVE member Debbie Africa was released on parole from State Correctional Institution (SCI) Cambridge Springs after 39 years and 10 months of incarceration.
Fellow MOVE members Janet and Janine Africa, however, were denied parole despite having virtually identical Department of Corrections records as Debbie.
Janet, Janine, and Debbie all:
- Have gone more than 20 years without a misconduct for any rule violation
- Were recommended for parole by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
- Were recommended for parole by former PA DOC Secretary Martin Horn
- Were recommended for parole by the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
- It is beyond dispute that Debbie, Janet and Janine present zero threat to public safety
The Parole Board has denied them the opportunity to return home based on unlawful factors. Claiming the two minimized the offense and did not express remorse, the Board ignored the only relevant assessment under Pennsylvania law: that the two do not present a threat to public safety.
The Parole Board also lied, claiming that Janet and Janine received the negative recommendation of the prosecuting attorney, when in truth Philadelphia's District Attorney, Larry Krasner, recommended all three women – Debbie, Janet, and Janine – for parole, his office stating that it "was "confident" that Janet and Janine "will not pose a threat to the Philadelphia community" and that their "continued incarceration does not make our city safer."
Take Action – Call the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons and Parole Chairman Leo Dunn:
Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole: 717-787-5699 – Ask for Chairman Leo Dunn's office
Send Email message: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Janet and Janine have not had any rule violation in more than 20 years
- Each has the support of the DOC, former DOC Secretary and nationally-renowned corrections expert Martin Horn, and the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office
- Janet and Janine do not present a threat to public safety and should be released just like Debbie
- The Board must stop making political decisions in the MOVE cases: when judged on their record in the DOC and community support Janet and Janine have a right to be released
- That Leo Dunn agree to have the Board reconsider its denial
- Grant Janet and Janine Africa release on parole
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415 863.9977 https://freedomarchives.org/
Questions and comments may be sent to email@example.com
For Immediate Release For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Herb Mintz
Photos and Interviews: Steve Zeltzer
25th Annual LaborFest 2018
Surviving The Billionaire Robot Assault in
the 21st Century
San Francisco: LaborFest opens its 25th annual festival on July 1, 2018 with a month of timely events inspired by local and international labor activists and labor history. The program schedule includes eleven international and local films, labor history walks, a labor history bike ride, a maritime history boat ride, lectures, forums, readings and theater and music performances. Most events are free of charge and are presented in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Jose.
This year LaborFest continues to commemorate the San Francisco General Strike of 1934 with a series of lectures and walks. LaborFest will also focus on the role of technology on workers from Silicon Valley to UBER, Lyft and taxi drivers, workers in the so-called 'gig economy' as well the role of Airbnb on hotel workers and communities and neighborhoods in San Francisco. The FilmWorks United International Working Class Film and Video Festival will feature films not only from the United States but China, Turkey, South Korea, Germany, France and the United Kingdom. Directors will be present to introduce some of the films.
Particular events in this year's LaborFest include a forum on the 50th Anniversary of the student strike at San Francisco State University, a concert by labor musician extraordinaire Charlie King, a screening of the LGBT historical comedy-drama film Pride, a book reading from Matilda Rabinowitz's memoir, Immigrant Girl, Radical Woman, a night of labor and immigration history inspired song by the Rockin' Solidarity Labor Chorus and a panel entitled Workplace Racism: Hanging Nooses and Fightback sponsored by United Public Workers.
LaborFest is the premier labor cultural arts and film festival in the United States. LaborFest recognizes the role of working people in the building of America and making it work with over 50 events. Most of these events are free or ask for a voluntary donation. The festival is self-funded with contributions from unions and other organizations that support and celebrate the contributions of working people.
For more details and to read or download a full schedule and description of LaborFest 2018 events, go here: http://www.laborfest.net /events/2018-07/
Listen to 'The Daily': Was Kevin Cooper Framed for Murder?
By Michael Barbaro, May 30, 2018
The sole survivor of an attack in which four people were murdered identified the perpetrators as three white men. The police ignored suspects who fit the description and arrested a young black man instead. He is now awaiting execution.
On today's episode:
• Kevin Cooper, who has been on death row at San Quentin State Prison in California for three decades.
Feds extend deadline for public comments on future draft
The feds initially provided only a few days for the public to submit comments regarding the future of the draft in the United States. This mirrored their process of announcing public hearings with only a few days notice. Due to pressure, they have extended the deadline for your online comments until September.
They need to hear from us!
- It's time to end draft registration once and for all.
- Don't expand the draft to women. End it for everyone.
- No national service linked to the military--including immigration enforcement.
- Until the US is invaded by a foreign power, stop pretending that the draft is about anything other than empire.
- Submit your own comments online here.
As we have been reporting to you, a federal commission has been formed to address the future of draft registration in the United States and whether the draft should end or be extended.
The press release states "The Commission wants to learn why people serve and why people don't; the barriers to participation; whether modifications to the selective service system are needed; ways to increase the number of Americans in service; and more."
Public hearings are currently scheduled for the following cities. We encourage folks to attend these hearings by checking the commission's website for the actual dates and locations of these hearings (usually annouced only days before).
- June 26/27, 2018: Iowa City, IA
- June 28/29, 2018: Chicago, IL
- July 19/20, 2018: Waco, TX
- August 16/17, 2018: Memphis, TN
- September 19/21, 2018: Los Angeles, CA
For more background information, read our recent post "Why is the government soliciting feedback on the draft now?"
We had draft registration resister Edward Hasbrouck on the Courage to Resistpodcast this week to explain what's going on. Edward talks about his own history of going to prison for refusing to register for the draft in 1983, the background on this new federal commission, and addresses liberal arguments in favor of involuntary service. Edward explains:
When you say, "I'm not willing to be drafted", you're saying, "I'm going to make my own choices about which wars we should be fighting", and when you say, "You should submit to the draft", you're saying, "You should let the politicians decide for you."
What's happening right now is that a National Commission … has been appointed to study the question of whether draft registration should be continued, whether it should be expanded to make women, as well as men register for the draft, whether a draft itself should be started, whether there should be some other kind of Compulsory National Service enacted.
The Pentagon would say, and it's true, they don't want a draft. It's not plan A, but it's always been plan B, and it's always been the assumption that if we can't get enough volunteers, if we get in over our head, if we pick a larger fight than we can pursue, we always have that option in our back pocket that, "If not enough people volunteer, we're just going to go go to the draft, go to the benches, and dragoon enough people to fight these wars."
The first real meaningful opportunity for a national debate
about the draft in decades . . .
Courage to Resist -- Support the Troops Who Refuse to Fight!
484 Lake Park Ave. No. 41, Oakland, CA 94610
Emergency Action Alert:
RELEASE DRAFTERS OF THE AGREEMENT TO END HOSTILITIES FROM SOLITARY CONFINEMENT
In October, 2017, the 2 year court monitoring period of the Ashker v. Governor settlement to limit solitary confinement in California expired. Since then, the four drafters of the Agreement to End Hostilities and lead hunger strike negotiators – Sitawa Nantambu Jamaa, Arturo Castellanos, George Franco, and Todd Ashker, have all been removed from general population and put in solitary in Administrative Segregation Units, based on fabricated information created by staff and/or collaborating "inmate informants." In Todd Ashker's case, he is being isolated "for his own protection," although he does not ask for nor desire to be placed in isolation for this or any reason. Sitawa has since been returned to population, but can still not have visitors.
Please contact CDCr Secretary Scott Kernan and Governor Edmund G. Brown and demand CDCr:
• Immediately release back into general population any of the four lead organizers still held in solitary
• Return other Ashker class members to general population who have been placed in Ad Seg
• Stop the retaliation against all Ashker class members and offer them meaningful rehabilitation opportunities
Contact Scott Kernan. He prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and cc: email@example.com
Contact Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841; Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
As a result of the administrative reviews established after the second prisoner hunger strike in 2011 and the Ashker settlement of 2015, California's SHU population has decreased from 3923 people in October 2012 to 537 in January 2018. Returning these four men and many other hunger strikers back to solitary in the form of Ad Seg represents an intentional effort to undermine the Agreement to End Hostilities and the settlement, and return to the lock 'em up mentality of the 1980's.
Sitawa writes: "What many of you on the outside may not know is the long sordid history of CDCr's ISU [Institutional Services Unit]/ IGI [Institutional Gang Investigator]/Green Wall syndicate's [organized groups of guards who act with impunity] pattern and practice, here and throughout its prison system, of retaliating, reprisals, intimidating, harassing, coercing, bad-jacketing [making false entries in prisoner files], setting prisoners up, planting evidence, fabricating and falsifying reports (i.e., state documents), excessive force upon unarmed prisoners, [and] stealing their personal property . . ."
CDCr officials are targeting the Ashker v. Governor class members to prevent them from being able to organize based on the Agreement to End Hostilities, and to obstruct their peaceful efforts to effect genuine changes - for rehabilitation, returning home, productively contributing to the improvement of their communities, and deterring recidivism.
Please help put a stop to this retaliation with impunity. Contact Kernan and Brown today:
Scott Kernan prefers mailed letters to 1515 S Street, Sacramento 95811. If you call 916-324-7308, press 0 for the Communications office. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and cc: email@example.com
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr., c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814; Phone: (916) 445-2841; Fax: (916) 558-3160; Email: https://govapps.gov.ca.gov/gov39mail/
Read statements from the reps:
Joint Statement from the 4 – Don't let CDCR reverse our Hunger Strike-won legal victory
Arturo – Statement by Arturo Castellanos
Todd – We stand together so prisoners never have to go through the years of torture we did (with Open Letter to Gov. Brown, CA legislators and CDCR Secretary Kernan)
"There Was a Crooked Prez"
By Dr. Nayvin Gordon
There was a crooked Prez, and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked lawyer upon a crooked isle,
They bought a crooked election which caught a crooked mission,
And they both lived together in a little crooked prison.
April 28, 2018
Dr. Gordon is a California Family Physician who has written many articles on health and politics.