Broadside – May 14, 2018 – Rene Rojas, Editor
With the Supreme Court decision in the Janus v AFSCME case coming soon, and probably finding in favor of the plaintiff, our union is under direct and immediate threat. From without our community, you may receive some anti-union propaganda arguing in favor of disbanding unions nation-wide. Recently, some of our FFECC members received a letter from Senator Rand Paul that reads:
Time after time, union czars pump piles of cash into the election – and re-election – of their pet politicians who, in turn, reward their Big Labor benefactors with sweetheart deals at taxpayer expense.
In total, roughly 19 million public sector workers have been forced under Big Labor’s thumb!
The letter continues in the same vein, ending with “If the case succeeds [favorable ruling for plaintiff Janus], Big Labor’s iron-fisted grip on public sector workers and taxpayers will be shattered,” and then it asks for a “tax-deductible contribution of $1,000, $500, $250, $100 or even $50 or $25 TODAY.”
We highly doubt that this letter’s primary purpose is to improve public sector workers’ well-being.
Let’s consider what will likely happen if the Supreme Court decides the way these anti-union activists would like:
Agency Fees will be illegal. Bargaining unit members who choose not to join the union but who benefit from union bargaining activities and protections pay agency fees in lieu of dues.
Yet, all employees, whether a full Union member or not, will still profit from Union secured benefits, such as extremely reduced cost Health Care, reliable pay and step increases, job security, Union legal representation, and other contractually mandated benefits.
In effect, if those employees take Rand Paul’s advice and choose not to join the Union, they will still benefit from the work and sacrifice of those employees who have committed to the FFECC. That will be good for those “free-riders” for a while, but if enough of us choose to take that route, and our membership drops below 50% of all eligible employees, then our Union could (and probably would) be de-certified. That means no more Union and no more of those secured benefits just detailed.
If we do not have Union protection, each one of us could have our health care deal taken away (very likely), have our pay steps eliminated, have our pay reduced, have our jobs taken away. We could have employment this semester but not the next; we could be fired without cause. With perpetual underfunding from the state and county, and the real possibility of continuing or intermittent enrollment decline, any or all of that is probable, and there will be no legal recourse from stopping it.
The vast, vast majority of us are conscientious, hard-working, and effective SUNY Erie employees, and yet we could lose our livelihood, our ability to support our families, for any reason whatsoever, and never even be told what the reason was.
The FFECC protects our jobs and secures us a decent living. We are not “under Big Labor’s thumb.” We benefit significantly, substantially from our union and, if self-interest is a driving force (as it should be for all of us), then that self-interest is best secured through union membership.
Who Can I Contact for Questions?
FFECC Leadership Team:
Andrew Sako, President firstname.lastname@example.org 851-1026
Patricia Kaiser, VP City email@example.com 270-5639
Adrian R. Ranic, VP North firstname.lastname@example.org 270-5828
Jason Steinitz, VP South email@example.com 851-1305
Michael Delaney, Grievance Chair firstname.lastname@example.org 270-5332