The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday against public sector unions, drawing swift condemnation from Democrats and labor activists concerned about the effect on collective bargaining.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) wrote on Twitter Wednesday morning that the decision in “Janus v. AFSCME” was an “attack on workers’ freedom to advocate for themselves.”
In a conference call with reporters, Brown criticized the court’s conservative majority for upending four decades of precedent, as well as laws in 22 states, in blocking unions from imposing mandatory dues.
“I think it’s an effort by a right-wing, anti-labor Supreme Court, anti-worker Supreme Court, to try to put the labor union out of business,” Brown said.
#JanusvsAFSCME is an attack on workers' freedom to advocate for themselves. Workers produce more than ever, but don’t share in the wealth they create. Our economy doesn’t value work. We change that by giving workers a voice in the businesses they help build – not silencing them.
— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) June 27, 2018
The vote was 5-4, with Justice Samuel Alito writing the majority opinion. It found that mandatory dues used to negotiate with management violate the First Amendment.
Brown, who’s running for reelection this year and has long enjoyed the support of labor unions, blames some of the country’s economic woes on the lack of union membership. The percent of Ohio workers in unions has stayed flat at 12.5 percent, slightly higher than the national average.
“One of the reasons we’ve had the decline of wages in this country, the stagnation of wages, is because of this corporate billionaire agenda from some of the richest people in the country,” Brown said.