ITF backs TWU campaign over union dues court case

ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton met Transport Workers’ Union of America (TWU) president John Samuelsen on 1 November in Washington, DC and addressed the union’s organising meeting to develop strategies to counter the right-wing agenda against union rights in the USA.

Mr Cotton pledged the ITF’s support for the TWU’s planned organising campaign in response to the forthcoming Supreme Court ruling in the Janus v AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) court case. Mark Janus does not want to pay his union dues, which are mandatory in around half of US states. Workers can get a rebate on the political element of their union dues but must pay the part that goes toward collective bargaining and union services, known as agency fees.

Steve Cotton said: “This court case isn’t about worker freedom. It’s about running unions out of business so greedy CEOs can line their pockets at the expense of workers. The prohibition of agency fees is the latest in the right-wing funded attacks on unions, and its impact could be enormous.

“But unions like the TWU are stepping up, working to shore up your membership, going back to the roots of trade unionism, organising on the ground. While we may not have the billions of dollars that corporations do, we have boots on the ground. I commend president Samuelsen’s leadership and allocation of additional resources for organising campaigns.

“The battles to defend basic trade union rights are being fought by your brothers and sisters across the world. So, I leave with you a message of solidarity as you stand up to those destroying unions, because an injury to one is an injury to all.”

Mr Samuelsen added that the right wingers bankrolling Mark Janus want the trade union movement to become frozen with fear. He said the TWU was not afraid and was meeting the challenge head on, educating and organising its members and fighting back to defend their livelihoods against these anti-worker wolves in sheep’s clothing.

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