TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy, Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo responded today to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that says public sector workers need not pay their “fair share” of dues to the unions that represent public sector employees.
In an opinion issued this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The petitioners in Janus asked the Court to overrule an earlier decision that had determined public unions could require all workers to pay a “fair share” of union dues to defray the cost of collective bargaining. New Jersey, along with a coalition of states and unions, defended that prior decision. But in a 5-4 ruling this morning, the Supreme Court decided to allow workers to refuse to pay their fair share, potentially weakening collective bargaining by labor groups that negotiate employee compensation, pensions, and contracts.
“This disappointing decision does not in any way diminish our administration’s commitment to protecting the right of public sector employees to organize,” responded Governor Phil Murphy. “We stand firm with our labor unions and labor organizations to advocate and protect members’ rights as we did with the Workplace Democracy Enhancement Act I signed in May. Supporting strong unions is a critical part of making New Jersey’s economy work for everyone.”
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal agreed.
“The very first amicus brief I signed as Attorney General was one in support of workers’ rights in Janus v. AFSCME,” said Attorney General Grewal. “I was proud to stand with labor on this crucial issue and remain so today. In New Jersey, we’re charting a path to protect workers even as the federal government turns away from them.
“At the Attorney General’s Office, we will use our legal authorities to continue vigorous enforcement of state laws that protect workers’ rights to organize and to engage in collective bargaining,” Attorney General Grewal continued. “Nothing about today’s decision changes that.”
“This decision is a travesty for working men and women everywhere, particularly here in New Jersey, where workers’ right to organize is protected by our state Constitution,” added Labor Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo. “The decision undermines the ability of working people around the country to receive the respect and appreciation they deserve. Despite this ruling, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is committed to working with our sister government agencies to protect workers' rights, secure their safety, and ensure the dignity that work provides.”
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