WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling in Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.

“With this ruling, the Supreme Court has sided against our teachers and nurses, our police officers and firefighters, and all hardworking Americans who have chosen public service careers,” said Sen. Menendez. “As devastating as this 5-4 ruling is, no court case will change the fact that unions play a key role in helping public employees to organize and act collectively to improve their work conditions and their relationships with their employers. We should make it easier for hardworking people to join unions and organize to defend their rights, not harder.

“As we saw yesterday, Supreme Court’s decisions have tremendous consequences for the lives of everyday Americans. Today’s ruling is yet another reminder why I opposed the Trump Administration’s decision to nominate a far-right judge like Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court who time and time again sides with powerful corporate interests over the rights of working people and middle class families.”

The Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case involved whether or not public sector unions can require non-members that are part of its collective bargaining unit to pay “agency fees” or “fair share fees” that help support the union in its collective bargaining negotiations and other labor work that does not involve political advocacy. A 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service found that private-sector union membership in right-to-work states was one-third the membership in states that aren't right-to-work. This ruling by the Supreme Court could have the same effect on public employee union membership.

Senator Menendez is an original cosponsor of the Public Service Freedom to Negotiate Act, introduced by Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii). The bill reaffirms that it is the policy of the U.S. to encourage collective bargaining as a means of promoting a stable and cooperative relationship between public employees and their employers and ensures public employees have the right to organize, act concertedly, and bargain collectively in states that currently do not afford them these basic rights.