Education News

Which governor candidates align with landmark anti-worker Supreme Court case?

by Félix Pérez

This Saturday, February 24, thousands of people across the country will stand up to CEOs, special interests and politicians who don’t want educators joining together to advocate for better schools, more resources for their students and stronger communities. At issue is Janus v. AFSCME, Council 31, a case before the U.S. Supreme Court that, contrary to long-standing precedent, would establish that non-union members who share in the wages, benefits and protections that have been negotiated in a collectively bargained contract are not required to pay their fair share for the cost of those negotiations.

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Part of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar effort to take away the freedom of – and opportunity for – working people to join together in strong unions to speak up for themselves, their families and their communities, Janus is being orchestrated by the legal arm of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. The foundation, which has close ties to the Koch brothers, has four “Koch associates” on its litigation team.

Just as telling as the corporate CEOs and billionaires funding the case are the candidates running for governor this November who share the Kochs’ anti-worker philosophy and who want to rig the rules against everyday working people. Here they are.


Janus originated from a failed attempt by billionaire Rauner to take away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions so that he could advance an agenda benefiting corporations and the wealthy. In his first year in office, Rauner traveled across the state pitching his ALEC-derived right to work proposal. His so-called right to work bill wasn’t able to garner a single vote in the state House of Representatives, going down 0-72. He filed a federal lawsuit on his own behalf to bar the collection of fair share fees by public service unions. The National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation and the Liberty Justice Center were able to carry the case forward by planting plaintiffs as stand-ins for Rauner in the lawsuit. The district court dismissed the case. The plaintiffs asked the lower court to fast-track their appeal and rule against them in order to more quickly get the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.


Schuette was attorney general in 2012 when Gov. Rick Snyder signed a right-to-work bill into law. The month the bill became law, he spoke out in its favor. Schuette later filed court documents saying the law applies to unionized state government workers. The filing was in response to a lawsuit by a coalition of labor unions. Republican leaders rammed through the law without any public input or amendments. Workers said the law was a politically motivated attack on their rights by Snyder and GOP leaders appeasing their wealthy donors and anti-worker business titans David and Charles Koch.


Wagner, a strident opponent of unions of working people, set off a firestorm by comparing public sector unions to Hitler and Russian President Vladimir Putin while running for re-election in 2014. He later said his comparison was an “unfortunate analogy.” Wagner was the driving force behind legislation in 2015 that singled out unions by prohibiting voluntary automatic dues deductions, which allow teachers, nurses, fire fighters, police officers and other public sectors workers from advocating effectively for adequately resourced public schools and job safety. His bill was defeated. In addition to his opposition to educators having a seat at the table to advocate for better schools and the resources their students need, Wagner has said some teachers earn too much, and he wants to eliminate benefits that educators earn, including sick days.


Walker cemented his status as the national standard bearer for the special interests behind anti-worker laws in 2015 when he pushed right-to-work legislation that targeted the ability of private sector workers to have a say in their workplace. The governor signed the bill despite repeated announcements that he had no intention of doing so. “It’s not going to get to my desk. I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure it isn’t there . . .” Or, “I have no interest in pursuing right-to-work legislation in this state.” Walker has enjoyed the Kochs’ enthusiastic support for much of his political career. Koch Industries was one of the largest contributors to Walker’s first gubernatorial campaign, giving him $43,000, his largest out-of-state contribution. And Walker’s 2014 re-election campaign was one of the top recipients of Koch Industries cash.

Are you interested in finding out more about the Janus case and the February 24 People’s Day of Action? Visit here.

35 responses to “Which governor candidates align with landmark anti-worker Supreme Court case?

  1. I am a retired union worker…and because of my union benefits I am comfortably retired. Unions are the back bone of the working class then and even more so now

  2. It is a shame that younger people, especially millennials seem to think unions are not needed, but I have noticed now that some of them, particularly those that work in the big tech companies are feeling more like sweat shop employees and realizing that they need to mobilize for unions or they will be living in a much diminished economic situation. As a retired union teacher and musicians union member I have always felt someone had my back and I was also kept in the ballpark of a decent wage. If these people don’t want to be in a union they should have no union wages, benefits, etc. They should negotiate their own contract.
    I also think it is a shame that the Koch brothers and others have been able to create this sham and get it all the way to the supreme court. It says something really bad about how our country really functions. I’m just a 70 year old guy who has seen this over and over in my life and wonder if it ever gets better or changes for the good.

  3. DNC sponsored candidates seldom aggressively fight GOP proposals. Care must be taken by Democrats to force their Party back to th FDR/Progressive resistance to wealth and donor special interests.

    Without a Bernie seal of approval, counting on enthusiastic effort against income inequality by DNC selectees secures little.

  4. Minnesota dodged a substantial bullet when Mark Dayton narrowly defeated a Walkeresque opponent in 2010. Dayton, wealthy in his own right, came through for public education and unions and was overwhelmingly reelected in 2014. This year he will step down, and it looks as if the former ultra conservative governor, Tim Pawlenty may be running on the GOP ticket against the yet to be chosen DFL candidate. Remember, every vote counts!

  5. As a veteran teacher in California, it is my experience this and many of the issues facing teachers is that too many of us are obedient to poor education models. So much of what we are told to do is not based on research and child benefit. We’ve become commodities like the students; traded on Walk Street, an afterthought to what is Sustainable and nurturing. The high stakes of standardized testing have decimated funding and helped create this severe lack of critical thinking in many realms. I am disappointed that so many teachers have chosen to follow twisted policy. A main point of union representation is to give us a voice. It would be prudent if more teachers exercised their voice before it’s too late.

  6. As an employee, shouldn’t you have the choice whether you want to be involved in a union or not? To me, as an individual, you should have the choice whether you want those dues to come out of your paycheck?

    1. Yes, I suppose you should be free to chose whether you want to be in the union or not, but how about when the union settles a contract and you a pay raise, if you didn’t join the union and pay the dues then maybe you shouldn’t get the raise. I’m just saying either your in or you’re out and if you chose to be out don’t be surprised if people aren’t a little upset with you.

    2. If you choose to not pay union dues you should not expect union support or arbitration if needed. Also the union should negotiate only for union members. Non members should negotiate their own contract.

    3. As an educator, being in a union means more than worker benefits. It’s about school safety, class size, support for our students with mental health issues, maintaining the arts and recess. It’s about making sure that our students have an optimal learning environment. This, as you may know, is threatened with state legislation, the lack of dollars for our public schools, special education, along with competing forces for privatization of schools. Our union allows us to speak on behalf of our students. My union dues, and my participation, is one of the last forums that I have in which to give my students a voice to help them succeed. In answer to your question, for many of us the question is: Why wouldn’t you choose to be in a union?

    4. Unions should be supported if you want the benefits.When I lived in VA I knew nothing about unions.When my husband left the Navy he wanted to go back to PA to work as a steel worker. Unfortunately due to cheap lower pricing overseas steel, the steel mills closed in PA. Oddly I learned nurses were in unions also and was very surprised since that would never happen in VA.

    5. All you see is a charge for union dues. Try to see the bigger picture. Look at it like insurance. You get the benefit of group negotiation for your entire workforce or for you as an individual. You can thank unions for paid mandatory breaks, safe environment workplace rules, non dicrimination policies, a living wage, company paid health care plans, child labor laws, paid vacations, maternity leave, the 8 hour work day, overtime pay, minimum wage. And many other rights and benefits. Places that treat their employees right, normally do not have workers petitioning for a union. If you work in a union shop you should want to join the union and be required to join. Unions are stronger without weak links. Unions are still required to represent non payers and foot that cost. Union dues cover things like litigation expenses arbitors pay, meeting places etc. They also set a standard for other companies to follow. We need more Unions not less

    6. I am a teacher and the choice was up to me if I wanted to join the union. I did. And I am still a member as a retired, public school teacher. The benefits are awesome.

  7. This is just more of the same. When unions began the wealthy tried to destroy them to put an end to the movement to end income inequality.

  8. This anti-union movement is just the 1% trying to destroy union activity. Just as it was in the beginning of unions movements to equalize financial inequities.

  9. Thank you for the information. Although these men led the charge…there are many others who support this agenda…Hope this information aids people in knowing who NOT to vote for or support. I live in Nevada which has no fair share payments from non-union members…and we are losing benefits and rights more and more as time goes forward. Hope everyone does not lose all we have fought hard for all these past years…

  10. You should include Governor Greg Abbot from Texas. He’s running again and is totally against public education. Texas is a “Right to Work” State and he likes it that way.

  11. The working class is the only foundation that is supporting this leaning tower. Take it out and the tower falls taking EVERYONE with it, included no the rich. Watch yourselves!!! You are biting the hand that feeds you!!!!!

  12. Scott Wagner would be the biggest mistake Pennsylvania voters could make in electing him as governor. Governor Tom Wolfe has done an outstanding job for all the people as Governor, not just the wealthy.

  13. Bill Schuette and Rick Snyder are both corporate shills, They are puppets of the Koch Brothers Libertarian spider web with its far-reaching tentacles. They are out to destroy our government so it only favors the wealthy and large corporations.
    This crap all began in the 60’s when the Civil Rights Act and the Brown vs. Board of Education were passed. Equal rights and majority rule are the enemies of these criminally insane MFer’s and the only way to combat this is to strictly vote for any Democrat on the ballot.
    This November may be our last chance to save our social network that millions depend on daily. Meet the REAL death squads.

    1. Unfortunately all republicans running for office accept money from Koch brothers, Monsanto,etc. and NEVER to rarely actually represent their constituents that put them in office. I gave up my favorite toilet paper once I knew it was a koch product. We vote with every dollar we spend. Currently my VA HOR Scott Taylor is strongly supporting payday lender scams. On every issue he votes against his constituents. I’ll never understand why voters keep him in office.I’m hoping Virginians have finally had their brains unwashed. I’m not saying the DEMs are perfect, but are the lesser evil.Lets take back the house and senate in 2018.

    2. DNC sponsored candidates seldom aggressively fight GOP proposals. Care must be taken by Democrats to force their Party back to th FDR/Progressive resistance to wealth and donor special interests.

      Without a Bernie seal of approval, counting on enthusiastic effort against income inequality by DNC selectees secures little.

  14. Scott Walker makes me ashamed to be a Wisconsin resident. He does not support his constituents, just his wealthy donors.

  15. Such a great name for the organization…Janus, the two-faced Roman god. What is more two-faced than titling laws undercutting unions as “Right to Work.”

  16. Strong unions in the 20th century were significantly responsible for the America that the President wants to make great again, which is why unions need to be supported and encouraged not suppressed.

  17. Need to add VP Mike Pence to the list. As Indiana gov, he
    signed RTW here in Indiana. Research recent article published in Hammond Times …. construction wages have dropped as much as 15%. No significant increase in work projects, skilled laborers leaving workforce, unskilled laborers cost more to train and don’t perform in the job as well.
    What would he do if president?

  18. As a resident of Illinois and a retired teacher I can assure everyone that Rauner will be retired as our governor. I can only hope that the other states mentioned, especially Wisconsin, will see the light and follow our lead.

  19. Scott Walker pushed through the anti-public union bill Act 10 in 2011, despite hundreds of thousands protesting at the Capitol and occupation of the Capitol for 2 weeks. The 14 Democratic senators left the state to try to stop the bill, but Republicans passed it by removing the fiscal part of the bill. The bill ended collective bargaining, among other things.
    Walker had tried to get RTW passed when he was first elected to the Assembly in 1992 and had joined ALEC.

  20. Republican Bruce Rauner is the worst governor of Illinois in my lifetime (I’m 84). He is a millionaire working to destroy unions and to destroy Mike Madigan, our Illinois Union supporter. It is imperative to get him out of office. I am supporting JB Pritzker.

  21. You all are getting voted out of office. Your wealthy elitists donors have done too much to harm working people. Tell them if they want all the money – then they can do all the work. You should be ashamed of yourselves for doing their dirty work.

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