Statement of Congressman Danny K. Davis on the Right to Organize Under Attack
February 23, 2018
I am a strong believer in the right to organize. In a democracy, it's most important tool at our disposal to fight inequality, to respond to injustice is our ability to organize, to stand together to assert and protect our constitutional, democratic, political, social and economic rights.
We are still struggling to extend many of our constitutional, democratic and political rights to every sector of our people while the ability to exercise these rights remains far too dependent on race, ethnicity, gender, zip code or economic circumstances. Most of us are required to check these rights at the door every day when we show up for work because the rules and rights associated with democracy only apply to our relationship to the government, not our employer.
Unions have been under constant attack. We have seen a direct correlation between the weakening of unions and the unchecked expression of corporate power. Real wages have stagnated even as productivity climbed and corporate profits continue to break records. Economic inequality has climbed to its highest level since the Great Depression. Without restraint from organized labor, companies have exercised unrestrained power in search of maximum profit, slashing benefits, closing work sites and moving away to lower-paid, nonunion plants, merging and downsizing and imposing unsafe and inhumane working conditions.
On February 26 the Supreme Court, which currently has a pro-corporate majority, will hear oral arguments on a case which threatens the protections public sector nurses have fought to secure for their patients over many years. “Janus v. AFSCME” is intended to weaken public sector unions by encouraging employees in unionized public sector workplaces to refuse to pay dues — while they enjoy the rights and benefits of a union contract and representation.
Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed as he stood with striking Memphis sanitation workers demanding freedoms – freedoms that unions have fought for and won for all of us. With these freedoms still under attack, unions are needed now more than ever.