I don't know about you, but I didn't feel much like celebrating the Fourth of July holiday this year. Following recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, I couldn't help but wonder "Independence Day" for whom?
The high court released many controversial decisions at the end of June, including the overturn of Roe v Wade. Roe was never about the right to abortion; it was always about the right to privacy. The people supporting the historic overturn are willing to give up their right to privacy to deny that right to others. As MAPE President, I will work to protect the right to everyone’s privacy and access to a job allowing them to make their own decisions.
This partisan court took away Americans' constitutional rights for half a century. Women of color and working-class people will bear the brunt of this decision. This reversal further exacerbates the health inequities that already exist in our country.
As union members, we know how hard we fight for every right and benefit. Unions know that privacy and comprehensive health care are fundamental rights, and this decision will make it harder for women and families to determine their futures.
This attack on our fundamental rights is just the latest, including the right to vote and collectively bargain. The court even cited Janus v AFSCME as an example of overruling precedent.
We have reached a turning point for our union. Justices are not only taking on the right to privacy but also sovereign nation rights, ignoring the separation of church and state by allowing public funds for religious school tuition and limiting the ability to combat climate change.
The overturn of Roe v Wade will have long-term effects on union members. According to Brenda Wiest, vice president and legislative director of Washington state's Teamsters Local 117, "Impacts will be felt in nearly every worksite, earnings, retirement, promotions, health care, vacation and sick leave. Our union contracts cover all. Whether and when to have a child tremendously impacts a working family's earnings, retirement, health care, and leave."
These justices are deliberately misinterpreting the Constitution. Their upcoming decision on Moore v Harper could end any democracy we have left. This case involves whether state courts have the authority to review the state constitution to impose limits on electoral politics that disenfranchise voters, such as partisan gerrymandering. In Moore v Harper, North Carolina Republican legislators are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn their state Supreme Court’s decision to throw out the legislature’s gerrymandered congressional map and enact one of the NC Supreme Court’s own less partisan maps.
If you think this court will not come back for unions, you're not paying attention. It is our absolute responsibility to stand for unions and workers. This court is bringing us backward in time. Its recent decisions are another reason we all need to get involved and help elect pro-labor legislators, governors, and other constitutional officers. Which candidates share your union values? Check out MAPE's website for candidate endorsements and voting records at https://mape.org/2022-mape-pac-endorsements . Door knock and phone bank for the candidates you believe in. Our vote is our power, and we must be intentional about who deserves it.