June 27, 2018

Supreme Court Ruling on Unions Will Harm All Americans

Statement by Kathleen Rest, Executive Director, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (June 27, 2018)—The U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling today that overturns the ability of public sector unions to negotiate contract provisions requiring non-members to pay their fair share of costs of negotiating collective bargaining agreements with employers on wages, health care and other benefits; workplace safety and other issues; and enforcing the terms of those agreements through grievance procedures. Unions are required to represent all workers in a bargaining unit—whether they are members of the union or not—and until today, the courts have upheld the rights of unions to recover from non-members the costs of representing their interests in collective bargaining.

Below is a statement by Kathleen Rest, executive director of the Union of Concerned Scientists and BlueGreen Alliance board member.

“This decision is a slap in the face to millions of hard-working teachers, firefighters, nurses, and other public sector workers across the country who provide the essential services we all rely on and who have benefitted greatly from the efforts of public sector unions to secure better wages, health care, retirement security, and safer working conditions.  

“Let’s be clear: this decision weakens these unions and undercuts their ability to fight not just for the interests of their workers, but for strong environmental, public health, and economic justice policies that benefit all of us. We know from long experience that a vibrant labor movement is critical to the success of these efforts and it’s responsible for benefits that many of us now take for granted—from the eight-hour workday and a living minimum wage to child labor policies and workplace safety and health protections. We will continue to stand in solidarity with working people and their unions in safeguarding these hard-fought protections and in pushing back against attacks on their ability to advocate on behalf of the nation’s workers.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.