Statement: President of Roosevelt Institute Responds to Supreme Court Ruling in Janus v. AFSCME

“Today’s ruling is a profound setback for working people. After decades of having their power eroded in our economy, workers have been dealt yet another blow by the Supreme Court.”

NEW YORK, NY– In response to the United States Supreme Court ruling in the case of Janus v. the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Roosevelt Institute President & CEO Felicia Wong issued the following statement:

“Today’s ruling is a profound setback for working people. After decades of having their power eroded in our economy, workers have been dealt yet another blow by the Supreme Court—in a case that has been funded and pushed by corporate CEOs and others, who work only for their own narrow interests and against the interests of working and middle-class Americans.

“One of the most powerful and important policies in FDR’s New Deal was codifying the rights for workers to collectively bargain. As these rights expanded in the ensuing decades, the prosperity of our middle and working classes grew along with them. And conversely, as the power of labor unions was weakened, working people began to lose ground. The public workforce, which will be directly harmed by today’s decision, has historically been a ladder for families, especially families of color, into the American middle class. That ladder is now under even greater strain.

“It now falls on those who truly support working people to reimagine new ways to rebuild and advance worker power. Thankfully, on this front, we have reason for hope. Look no further than the recent teacher protests in right-to-work states across the country, where, through united and concerted direct action, teachers and their allies won raises and shifted the conversation through united and concerted direct action. This sort of boldness and solidarity—coupled with innovative ideas for updating labor law to meet the globalized workplaces of the 21st century and new solutions for organizing those not currently covered by union law—will now only become more essential in the months and years ahead.”

On Wednesday, June 27, the Roosevelt Institute is hosting its annual Distinguished Public Service Awards in Washington, D.C. Among the honorees is Service Employees International Union President Mary Kay Henry, whom we are especially proud to honor and stand in solidarity with given today’s decision. Other international labor presidents—including AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, AFT President Randi Weingarten, Teamsters President James Hoffa, and AFSCME President Lee Saunders—are recent past recipients of the Roosevelt public service award. Presidents Hoffa and Saunders will be in attendance at the event. More information on the program can be found here.

About the Roosevelt Institute

Until the rules work for every American, they’re not working. The Roosevelt Institute asks: what does a better society look like? Armed with a bold vision for the future, we push the economic and social debate forward. We believe that those at the top hold too much power and wealth, and that our economy will be stronger when that changes. Ultimately, we want our work to move the country toward a new economic and political system: one built by many for the good of all.

It takes all of us to rewrite the rules. From emerging leaders to Nobel laureate economists, we’ve built a network of thousands. At Roosevelt, we make influencers more thoughtful and thinkers more influential. We also celebrate—and are inspired by—those whose work embodies the values of both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and carries their vision forward today.