The Rules and Legislation Committee of the Oakland City Council was scheduled this week to hear a resolution proposed by Councilmember-at-Large Rebecca Kaplan urging the City Administration to continue to work with public labor unions after the Supreme Court’s Janus undermining the strength of the labor movement.
The Janus decision Resolution was proposed by Councilmember Kaplan and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Noel Gallo and Dan Kalb.
In February 2018, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case, which could overturn the precedent set by the Abood v. Detroit Board of Education case in 1977, which allowed public sector unions to require “fair-share” fees from non-members that benefit from the union’s collective bargaining activities.
In the lead up to this week’s Supreme Court decision against labor this week, many cities and organizations have been passing resolutions urging for the continued partnerships with public unions no matter what the outcome of Janus.
“If the current precedent is overturned, unions could be restricted from requiring ‘fair-share’ fees from nonmembers, thereby weakening the unions’ power to effectively negotiate on behalf of all public-sector workers and to promote policies that protect workers’ rights, fair wages, and safer working conditions,” said Kaplan.
Others in the Bay Area that have already passed similar resolutions, include the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, San Francisco Board of Supervisors and AC Transit.
“This action, by the Supreme Court that was stacked with a more right-wing majority by the blockade on President Obama’s last nominee, will weaken unions’ power to effectively negotiate on behalf of all public sector workers, including to promote policies that protect workers’ rights, fair wages, and safer working conditions,” said Kaplan.
“As a life-long supporter of the rights of workers, I am concerned that this will hurt those who most need the protections. Today, we see financial struggles rising, including personal bankruptcies and the number of unhoused people at an all-time high,” said Kaplan.
“Without the appropriate negotiation power to fight for worker protections, we may see these numbers climb higher and at a faster rate. Also, it is important that people are able to afford to live in the cities in which they work, send their children to school, and have adequate healthcare and pensions available to them.”
The resolution passed the council committee Thursday and will go to the full council on July 10.