Janus V. AFSCME is a watershed moment in labor history.
The case was designed to deal a devastating blow to the power of public unions and therefore, the political and collective bargaining power of the labor movement as a whole.
Powerhouse public unions like AFSCME, SEIU and the NEA (which are also important political players and voter turnout machines) will be decimated by Janus. Many have already begun layoffs.
The impacts of Janus on CWA will not be limited to the public sector. Every part of our union will be struggling with the effects of the resulting revenue loss, as well as our diminished power. It will be harder to achieve wins for our members and we will have less money to do so.
There is little to no hope that Janus will result in anything less than a total loss of agency fees in the public sector.
Many CWA locals will be devastated by Janus. A few stand to lose as much as half of their revenue overnight.
When Janus is decided, CWA will lose $7 million (revenue from current agency fee payers in the public sector, non Right to Work states). Losses in 2019-2020 could also reach the millions as members opt for a free ride. These numbers could/would be much worse without CWA Strong. Locals who have picked up the challenge to engage with their non-members and agency fee payers have added thousands of members to our roles.
A recent survey of our non-members and agency fee payer show:
a large majority think it is a good idea to have union representation in their workplace
most think things would be worse without a union
a majority are satisfied with CWA representation
most have never been asked to join the union
These results give us real hope that we can build our strength by having stewards who are systematically reaching out to each worker we represent. But we must act quickly, because the Janus ax will fall in June of this year.
All CWA sectors and districts will lose funding next fiscal year due to Janus. The cut will be spread evenly throughout the union.
We believe we have a solid financial plan that will accommodate Janus cuts without laying off staff or rolling back employee compensation. But we will need everyone's help to make that plan a reality, and there will be many unpredictable variables.
Beginning in the new fiscal year (June 1, 2018), the CWA budget will include 25% cuts in:
The organizing fund
Most other spending categories that are not staff salaries or benefits (comms, education, meetings, human rights, etc.)
This is not quite enough to cover the full cut. Reduced replacement hiring (two-for-one) will continue. Sectors, districts or departments running over budget risk moving to a hard freeze (no staff backfill).
CWA will continue to explore longer-term strategies to save money, including restructuring, reducing administrative costs, closing smaller offices, etc.
What you can do:
Look for ways to save money, especially on travel and legal expenses
Talk to everyone you can, including CWA local leaders, about the coming impact of Janus
Help your CWA colleagues understand that this decision will affect all of us, in every part of the union
Continue to make the CWA Strong program a priority for yourself and every person who reports to you.Remember, most non-union or agency fee payers think there is value in the union, but have not been asked to join. All staff, regardless of their other assignments, must take on the fundamental responsibility to sustain and grow our union.
The good news: If we handle this correctly, we will emerge stronger than ever before.
When we talk to the people we represent, they join. Exemplary locals in many parts of our union are taking on this work and transforming their relationships with their members. Thousands of new members have signed up since our CWA Strong program began.
Many non-members and fee payers mistakenly believe they are already union members. By talking to them, and signing them up, we can protect them and us against future attacks on union security.