Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference to Unveil Legislation to Respond to Janus Decision by Strengthening Rights of Workers to Join Unions & Bargain Collectively


Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House and Senate Democrats and labor leaders to announce a major legislative proposal to respond to the Janus decision and guarantee the right for public employees to organize, act concertedly and bargain collectively in states that currently do not afford these basic protections.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.   Thank you very much Mr. Leader [Chuck Schumer] for your very strong statement.  Thank you Senator [Mazie] Hirono for bringing us together here this morning.  It’s an honor to be with our champions for working families in our country, President [Richard] Trumka and President [Lee] Saunders and our wonderful representative at the SEIU, Monika Roberts.  Monika, thank you for being with us.  I’m with our colleagues.  You’ll hear from them as they speak.  If others come who are not speaking , I will acknowledge them, but let me just acknowledge this.

With this decision that it announced yesterday, the Supreme Court became the Supreme Corp., short for ‘corporation’.  They are handmaidens of corporate America.  They are there to undermine workers in our country.

They did so in trying to supplicate the voices giving corporations unlimited access to dark, special interest money in the Citizens United decision.  And, now, yesterday they did violence to our democracy by trying to diminish the voices of working people.  Amplify the voices of corporate, silent special interest money.  Diminish the voices of workers.  That’s not the American way.

Their decision does violence to the First Amendment, cheapening it and using it, stretching it as a rationale for this decision.  It does violence to stare decisis, abandoning a decision in this respect.  And that endangers so many decisions that have already taken place in the court.  And what does that do?  It hurts America’s working families.

The trade union movement has been responsible, as the distinguished Leader said, for establishing our middle class.  Indeed the middle class has a union label on it.  We all agree with that.  Our entire society and economy have benefitted from organized collective bargaining, protections in the workplace in terms of work safety, benefits, healthcare and the rest.

Every worker in America, whether they belong to a union or not, has benefited from the leadership of the trade union movement.   That’s why the ultra-conservatives in our country want to undermine it.  And, as the Leader said, they couldn’t do it legislatively, so they are taking it to the courts.

Shame on this Court for this decision, especially on top of the Citizens United decision.  Undermines the First Amendment.  Undermines stare decisis.  Undermines our democracy.

So, on some of these decisions that could be affected, if they are casual about decisions that have already been made: Roe v. Wade, voting rights, civil rights, civil rights, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights are all at stake with this Supreme Court.  Under the GOP control of Washington, jobs, healthcare and basic rights are under threat of this Trump court.

So, what’s at stake?  What’s at stake is the character of America and the future of our children.  That’s why we are pleased that –  this is a raw deal for the American people, we have A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future and part of that is the legislation that was referenced by the distinguished Leader, that is being introduced today, that Senator Hirono referenced.  That is part of our Better Deal.  But, we are going to fight this because this is about, again the character of America, the strength of the middle class which is the backbone of our democracy.

With that I am pleased to yield to Representative Cartwright of Pennsylvania who is the author in the House.  Oh, we have a different order?  Oh, [Senator] Patty [Murray], I am sorry, I was just looking at the list here.

Senator Hirono.  Representative Cartwright, if you don’t mind, I know that Senator Murray has to get to her appropriations hearing and you are one of the lead sponsors of this bill in the House.

Congressman Cartwright.  Not at all.

Leader Pelosi.  So, I am pleased to yield to the distinguished champion for workers’ rights, the Ranking Member of the Committee [on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions].

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