Rally held in Reading as US Supreme Court hears union case

'I should have my first amendment rights'

Rally held in Reading as SCOTUS hears labor union case

READING, Pa. - Several dozen union workers and supporters stood together in Reading on Monday to say America needs union jobs.

The rally in center city was one of 300 taking place nationwide in response to a U.S. Supreme Court case that could impact five million government workers.

The case involves public sector unions and whether it is constitutional to require nonmembers to pay a fee to unions they choose not to join.

Justices were split four-four when the issue came up two years ago. The rallies come the very day the court started hearing arguments in the Janus v. AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).

It's a case opponents said could strip workers' rights to organize.

"This whole case actually is about weakening the union and, at the end, I feel it's all about money. They just want to have the power to take away what we stand for," said Cheila Martinez, a certified nurse's assistant.

On the other hand, supporters held a rally of their own outside the Supreme Court.

Mark Janus, the man named in the lawsuit, told 69 News he's not asking for any more than he's entitled.

"I should have my first amendment rights. They basically want to take it away from me," Janus said.

As it stands, he's among five million government employees required to pay union dues every month, despite not being members of a union. It's been that way for 40 years.

"The Supreme Court thought this was worth taking up again, even though there is precedent on this," said Janus' attorney, Jacob Huebert, the director of litigation at the Liberty Justice Center.

Opponents fear a change could be devastating.

"We know if Janus is successful, unions will be destroyed all across this country," said union supporter with the organization "Make the Road" Adanjesus Marin.

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