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. 2018 Nov;28(3):392-399.
doi: 10.1177/1048291118784713. Epub 2018 Jun 27.

Right-to-Work-for-Less: How Janus v. AFSCME Threatens Public Health

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Right-to-Work-for-Less: How Janus v. AFSCME Threatens Public Health

Jerzy Eisenberg-Guyot et al. New Solut. .

Abstract

In February 2018, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Janus v. AFSCME, a case poised to make right-to-work (or, as some call it, right-to-work-for-less) the law in the public sector. At issue is the constitutionality of requiring non-union members, who benefit from collective bargaining, to pay fees that support contract negotiations on the terms and conditions of their employment. We argue that a win for Janus would threaten public health by eroding organized labor's power to improve working conditions. Furthermore, we critique the dubious legal theory underpinning Janus's case and describe the moneyed political interests backing his legal representation. Finally, we chart a path forward for labor organizing in a post- Janus world, drawing inspiration from the winter 2018 educators' strike in West Virginia. Regardless of how Janus itself is decided, the issues raised in this article remain crucial because the ongoing weakening of unions by legislative and judicial means undermines workers' health and exacerbates inequities.

Keywords: health equity; inequality; labor unions; organizing.

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