Mark Janus is a Bad Person

Mark Janus, of the Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case which concluded on June 25th, 2018, is a really bad person. 

If you are not familiar with the Janus case, here is a quick summary: 

Mark Janus, an Illinois state employee, took his union, AFSCME, to court to argue that ‘his’ being forced to pay ‘agency fees’ to ‘his’ union to represent 'his' interests in collective bargaining negotiations with a state or municipality is compelling ‘his’ speech and a violation of ‘his’ first amendment rights. ‘His’ argument was that any negotiation with a government municipality was inherently political and therefore being force to fund those negotiations was compelling ‘him’ to make political speech that he may or may not agree with. Mark Janus went on to win ‘his’ case.

If you may have noticed in the last paragraph, I put the word ‘his’ in quotes. I did this, because this was not Mark Janus’s case. It was a case bankrolled by the billionaire Koch brothers, billionaire Governor Bruce Rauner and various other conservative special interest groups that seek to destroy unions in order to pay workers less and provide fewer benefits. Mark Janus allowed himself to be a pawn in this assault on the wellbeing of his fellow workers and for unions across the country. Mark Janus himself had no idea what the case was about as made evident by comments of his in the run up to the Supreme Court decision. 

As per a piece in politico on February 26th, 2018:
At a breakfast meeting with reporters Friday, Janus wandered a bit off-script. Far from denouncing collective bargaining as compelled political speech, Janus said “I think unions have a place. Collective bargaining is beneficial to people and workers. But where I draw the line is when somebody tells me that I have to pay something that I don't agree with." Like what? Janus didn’t elaborate. But, writes POLITICO’s Andrew Hanna, Janus “suggested that he opposed AFSCME using his fair-share fee to support the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton, and said he'd be troubled if his fair-share fee went to any other candidate, ‘whoever the candidate may be,’ without his being consulted.”
Mark Janus CLEARLY has no idea what ‘his’ case was all about. The law already bars unions from spending members ‘agency fees’ on political candidates or causes. None of Mark Janus’s agency fees were used to support a political candidate and if they were he would have been suing his union or violating the law that was already on the books. This has been law for 40 years. Furthermore, union members have been mandated to pay agency fees because unions themselves are mandated by law to represent state employees in negotiations for wages and benefits. That representation costs money. Unions are mandated by law to represent state employees, because the states do not and cannot negotiate with each employee. State unions will now lack the financial means to get the best wages and benefits for state employees. (Thanks Mark)

Mark Janus, it appears, knew none of this. He signed on to be the subject of a case that would be an assault on public sector unions and the livelihoods of his fellow workers for his own financial gain. He won his case and got everything he wanted; and do you know what he did next? He quit his job and took a job as a ‘senior fellow’ at the conservative think tank, the Illinois Policy Institute. The role of a ‘senior fellow’ typically is to do research, write papers, make appearances etc. I doubt Mark Janus will be doing any of that.  He’s on a lifetime vacation here on out courtesy of Koch Industries.

After spending his career in a public sector union, Mark Janus used his name to try to damage those unions ability to improve the lives of its members. The damage done to unions and labor will last longer than Mark Janus’s lifetime. He may have a very nice long vacation, but he will undoubtedly have a very sad legacy.


Popular Posts