“We refuse to be silenced”

NJEA released the following statement regarding the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Janus v. AFSCME, in which the court overturned more than four decades of established law in order to tilt the balance of power in workplaces even further toward employers:

“This morning’s blatantly anti-worker, anti-middle class ruling by the Supreme Court demonstrates what unions have always known: we must always fight for the rights of working people in America and never take any of those rights for granted,” said NJEA President Marie Blistan. “The court’s attempt today to stifle labor’s collective voice will fail, because we refuse to be silenced. They can change the law, but they cannot do anything about our determination to organize, to advocate and to fight for our fellow members and all working people.”

“The wealthy and powerful have always wanted to weaken unions, because we, the people who make up unions, refuse to be intimidated by them,” declared NJEA Vice President Sean M. Spiller. “But unions have never needed the permission of courts or legislators to do what we’ve joined together to do. Our mission has always included challenging the status quo and disrupting the structures built to hold back working people. That work doesn’t depend on the Supreme Court’s permission and it will not be stopped by this misguided ruling.”

“NJEA members know the value of our union, because we see the power of collective action at work every day,” added NJEA Secretary-Treasurer Steve Beatty. “We bargain contracts, we advocate for students and public schools, and we work to build a fairer, stronger and more just society for everyone. Separately, we could not win those fights. Together, we cannot be stopped.”

The anti-union effort that led to the Janus case has been bankrolled by the National Right to Work Foundation, part of a network funded by corporate billionaires whose goal is to use the courts to rig the rules against working people. It is a multiyear, multimillion dollar effort to manipulate the system for their benefit, at the expense of the middle class. For decades, they have used the vast resources at their disposal to chip away at the progress unions have made for working families. Their goal is to weaken unions in order to muffle the voices of middle class families.

While the full legal ramifications of the ruling must still be examined, NJEA will continue to fight for all members’ professional and economic interests, and advocate for students, families and public education.

NJEA was founded in 1853 and today represents over 200,000 active and retired school employees in New Jersey, as well as students preparing for careers in education.

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