Council 4 Members Assert Their Rights and Freedoms as Supreme Court Hears Anti-Worker Janus Case

“Our union. Our choice. You’re not gonna take away our voice.”

That was the rallying cry of more than 200 union workers and community allies who rallied on the steps of New Haven City Hall today to protect the rights and freedom of workers to negotiate together and fight for decent and equitable pay, affordable health care, quality schools, and vibrant communities.

Workers held simultaneous rallies in three other cities across Connecticut—Hartford, Stamford, and Storrs—as oral arguments were heard in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Janus vs. AFSCME Council 31 case which threatens to take away worker’s collective rights and freedoms of the middle class.

Across the state, workers made it clear they will not be intimidated by the CEOs and billionaires who have bankrolled Janus in an effort to further rig the economy in their favor.

“This case has nothing to do with free speech or empowering workers,” said AFSCME Local 3144 Vice President Harold Brooks, a Senior Accountant for the City of New Haven. “It has everything to do with destroying the rights and freedoms of workers like you and me.”

Speaking at the Storrs rally, Correctional Officer Matthew Quigley, chief steward for AFSCME Local 1565, stressed the importance of freedom.

“I served my country for nine year in the U.S. Army, with multiple combat deployments to Afghanistan. I am proud of my service,” Quigley told a pack room at the UConn Student Union. “I know that freedom is not given. It is fought for and must be protected. That includes the freedom of working people to join together in unions.”

Union advocates across the state made it clear they will be not be stopped by a Supreme Court decision in favor of the plaintiff, an Illinois state social worker.

AFSCME Local 704 President Taffy Womack invoked the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who gave his life while trying to help striking Memphis sanitation workers represented by AFSCME, during her remarks at the Hartford rally, which took place on the steps of the State Supreme Court.

“Dr. King’s work is not done,” said Womack, an Administrative Assistant at the Secretary of State’s office. “Together, we will never stop fighting. And together, we will win.”

Unions participating in the Feb. 26 rallies across the state include: Connecticut AFL-CIO, AFSCME Council 4, AFT Connecticut, SEIU CT State Council, CT Education Association, 1199 SEIU, CT Employee Union Independent, CSU-AAUP, UConn-AAUP, 32BJ SEIU, Congress of Connecticut Community Colleges, UAW Region 9A, UNITE HERE, Western Connecticut Area Labor Federation, Eastern Connecticut Area Labor Federation, CSEA Local 2001, Working Families, United Food & Commercial Workers, Uniformed Professional Fire Fighters Association, Connecticut State Building & Construction Trades Council.