Janus the Planet: How a Supreme Court Decision Helps Billionaires Take Over the World

Today’s Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME isn’t a victory for Mark Janus. It’s a victory for billionaires like the infamous right-wing Koch brothers who backed the Janus case and spent millions of dollars in an effort to further rig our economy and our democracy in their favor.

If we want a world where where we could pay for a place to live without having to sell both kidneys or where we can get treated by doctors because we are sick, not because we can pay, we have to understand Janus as part of these billionaires’ big planet-sized plans, and know what we can do about it.

Start with Kayan Cheung-Miaw’s comic, then take world-saving action:

The Supreme Court ruled that Mark Janus can stop paying fair-share fees to a union who is legally obligated to represent him and bargain for better raises, healthcare and a secure retirement for him and his co-workers. This decision affects all public sector workers. Almost half of union members are public sector workers like teachers, nurses, and bus drivers. And 1 in 5 Black adults work in the public sector, where the labor and civil rights movements have won better job opportunities for people of color.

Billionaire front groups like the State Policy Network have been funding court cases like Janus and selling new state laws as the “right to work,” which is billionaires helpfully looking out for our freedom to keep making them loads of money.

But we don’t need their made-up “right to work.” Many of us already work too much, juggling multiple jobs or a side-hustle — that’s the cool name Uber uses for having to scramble for a job with little pay and no benefits because your first job doesn’t pay enough.

What we really need is power in numbers. When tens of thousands of teachers in West Virginia fought back this year, they won big for themselves and their students. When tens of thousands of fast food and service workers joined together to fight for $15 and a union, they won $62 billion — yes billions — in raises for 19 million workers, a huge majority of whom didn’t have an union. When unions are strong, everyone wins.

And when people of color and women join together in unions, they make big gains in getting paid more fairly. Black women who join a union make an average of $23.18 an hour while non-union women make $16.92. Power in numbers means the power to overcome barriers set by race, immigration status, gender and more.

Power in numbers means we can take on the billionaires and fix our rigged economy and democracy. In the face of today’s Janus decision, we have to stick together.

Burst the billionaires’ bubbles. Show that we need unions by sharing this comic or posting a heroic picture of yourself standing up with a sign that says Union, like Sally Field did in the movie Norma Rae. Join us by using the hashtag #Union.

More info on Jobs with Justice San Francisco at jwjsf.org, Bay Rising at bayrising.org and Kayan Cheung-Miaw’s work at kayancheung.tumblr.com