What Is the Janus Case?
What Is Janus?

Janus v. AFSCME is a case before the U.S. Supreme Court backed by corporate CEOs and billionaires who are trying to weaken public-sector unions. The lead plaintiff in the case is Mark Janus, an Illinois social worker who doesn’t want to pay any union dues or fees. A decision in his favor — and against the interests of unionized working men and women — is expected as early as June.

Why are we worried about Janus now?

Even though the outcome of this case may be months away, we need to be prepared for both an immediate and a prolonged fight to protect our rights. There are already 28 states where legislatures have passed so-called Right-to-Work laws in an attempt to weaken unions. The Janus case is part of a larger corporate-backed campaign to undo union power across the country, but we can use it as an opportunity to not only maintain but also grow our union power.

What Is the Current Law?
No one is required to join a union. However, under the current system based on a 40-year-old Supreme Court decision, all public employees who are members of a collective bargaining unit can be required to pay a fair-share fee (also known as an agency fee) toward the cost of negotiating and maintaining the contract from which all employees benefit.
How would unions be affected by overturning current law?
If Janus prevails, “free riders” would be allowed to receive all the collective bargaining rights afforded to dues-paying members without having to pay a dime toward negotiating and maintaining the contract under which they work. If fair-share fees are prohibited, union members will be targeted by campaigns urging them to become free riders. But those campaigns will not mention that unions can be decertified, ending collective bargaining, if membership drops significantly.
What is the goal of Janus backers?
The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and other corporate-funded groups behind this lawsuit want management to have unfettered rights to determine pay, benefits and working conditions. We know from experience that weakening unions leads to lower compensation. For example, since public employee unions were gutted in Wisconsin in 2011, median pay and benefits for teachers has declined by $10,842. Weakening unions also impairs the ability of employees to have a say over the conditions under which they work.
What is the MTA doing in response to Janus?
The MTA is fighting back by organizing to protect the power of our members and the public good. This includes hiring additional organizers to work with local association leaders on developing plans to engage members and encourage them to be active at the local, state and national levels in support of the public schools and colleges our students, our members and our communities deserve.

Rally for Public Ed

United, We All Benefit

It's about our collective power. Unions are needed to stand up to the wealthy special interests whose policies undermine public education and the common good.

It's about freedom. We are rising up to protect the freedom of working people to join unions. This means a better life for our ourselves and our students.

It's about community. Unions strengthen our communities and ensure that we as educators have the power to speak out for the schools and colleges our students deserve.

What Is Janus? Membership vs. Non-MembershipWhy Go All In for Unions Why Janus Matters 

Workers ‘stick with the union’ as court hears Janus arguments

We Rise event on Feb. 26

Workers took to the streets in cities across Massachusetts — and thousands more wore pro-union stickers at their worksites — to show solidarity on Monday, Feb. 26, as the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a case backed by wealthy special interests intent on weakening the power of public employee unions.

“Sisters and brothers in labor, we are gathering today to show the world that we are going to stay strong and stick with the union no matter what billionaires like the Koch brothers and the backers of the State Policy Network or our own Pioneer Institute throw at us,” MTA President Barbara Madeloni said.. “We know our power is in our solidarity.”

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Melrose Education Association

MTA Members Are #All_In

Across the Commonwealth, MTA members are using their collective voices to speak out for the schools and colleges our communities deserve. Check out our Educators in Action page and share your latest #All_In pictures with us so we don't miss a thing.

Educators in ActionSubmit Your All In Action Info

All In BRAG Worksheet
Tools for Local Association Leaders
Rally for Public Ed

Apply for MTA Organizing Funds

Member engagement is our best defense against the corporate interests behind Janus v. AFSCME. They have one goal in mind — silencing the voice of workers and unions.

Learn more about creating an organizing program in your local.

Apply for Organizing Funds All In Guide

Preparing for the Janus Decision

Planning Memo

Why should someone join your union?

Use the B.R.A.G. structure to organize a list of benefits, resources, accomplishments and goals that your local provides to its members.

B.R.A.G. Worksheet

Members Are All In for Union Solidarity

Members of the Sutton Education Support Professionals Association are enthusiastically taking part in the All In campaign. From left to right are President Elaine Valk, Chris Chase, Melissa Wahlstrom, Sallie Robert, Pat Thompson, Cheryl Shaw, Savannah Tracey, Diane Johnson and Kerrie Randell.

Elaine Valk remembers what it was like to work in the Sutton Public Schools before education support professionals formed a union.

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Conversations at Heart of Campaign

All In

Unions are bracing for the impact of a case brought to the U.S. Supreme Court that could strip them of their right to collect “fair-share” fees from nonmembers.

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All In: Union Power

“We have faith that as we take on this attack, we will come out stronger for it.”

MTA President Barbara Madeloni on U.S. Supreme Court decision to hear Janus v. AFSCME