Rally supports unions ahead of US Supreme Court hearing

Janus v. AFSCME could change things for unions

Rally supports unions ahead of SCOTUS hearing

BOYERTOWN, Pa. - On Monday, the United States Supreme Court will hear one of its biggest cases of the year. The case involving unions and the organizations' ability to collect dues from members could have a nationwide impact.

Local groups rallied in Boyertown on Saturday in support of unions. Indivisible Berks hosted a Working People's Day of Action at Reading and Philadelphia avenues. It was one of hundreds of similar events taking place across the country this weekend.

"We're here to stand up for working people," said Jane Palmer, a volunteer with Indivisible Berks.

The organization said it is dedicated to making sure elected officials represent everyone, including those who are most vulnerable. Palmer said her and others' way of living is under attack due to Janus v. AFSCME.

"It's part of a broad side attack on working people," Palmer said.

The case involves Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee who is being forced to pay fees to the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, but did not want to join the union.

Janus argues that public union spending is politically-motivated and he should not be forced to subsidize it through union dues.

Palmer said she's worried a victory for Janus could be a step toward making Pennsylvania a right-to-work state.

"Right-to-work is exactly the opposite of what it says. Right-to-work means right to work for pittance," Palmer said.

Joining Indivisible Berks on Saturday were the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and Make The Roads Pa., among other groups.

"Working people have created America to be the great place that it is and it will continue to be great as long as we have the opportunity [to] unionize," said Bryan Sanguinito, the president of the PSEA's eastern region, which represents 19,000 school teachers.

How the case plays out and what it means for the rest of the country remains to be seen. Meanwhile, Saturday's demonstration shows some are not waiting for the court's decision to fight for their rights.

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