Decision Won’t Stop Union Growth as Workers Organize to Give Voice to Shared Values
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Members and leaders of the Ohio Nurses Association said today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of wealthy and corporate interests’ attempt to silence workers and their unions won’t stop them from working to build a better life for themselves, the patients they care for and their communities.
“We’re sticking with our union,” said Jessica Frymyer, a member of the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) and president of the Ohio State University Nurses Organization (OSUNO). “Nurses know that the things they want—quality patient care, safe staffing and work environment, decent pay, and fair treatment—are what our union fights for.”
Brian J. Burger, MSN APRN AGACNP-BC CCRN, president of the Ohio Nurses Association, predicted the decision ultimately will lead to member activism and a stronger voice for workers.
“This decision today is a momentary triumph for the wealthy special interests who backed this lawsuit,” he said. “But the voices of nurses and the working people will not go unheard. And unions, such as ours, remain the best way to make sure decision-makers—at work or in the halls of government—are listening.”
The Supreme Court’s decision, in a case called Janus v. AFSCME, invalidates state laws allowing labor unions to collect fees from everyone in a bargaining unit, including nonmembers, to pay the costs of bargaining and other representation the union is required to provide.
Even though the decision overruled a precedent that had stood for more than 40 years, that outcome had been largely anticipated by labor leaders.
“We are disappointed but not surprised by this result,” said Burger. “Our members have followed this case and were well aware—since President Trump’s appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the court—that this would be an uphill battle in the Supreme Court. Today’s ruling only confirmed that.”
Acknowledging the short-term challenges presented by the decision, Jessica Frymyer said ONA and OSUNO are already taking steps to comply with the ruling.
“Our union is a leader nationwide. Our members are committed to meet these challenges,” she said. “Our quest for our shared interests and values, including safe patient care and safe nurse staffing, continues. We’re not going anywhere.”
“Strong unions make strong communities,” she added. “Our nurses and their patients understand that.”
President Burger said the Ohio Nurses Association will continue to organize new members, as it has over the last 18 months as the Janus case made its way to the Supreme Court.
“This court got it wrong today,” he said. “But as we carry this fight forward—where our members work, in the communities they serve, and at the ballot box in November—we believe the court of public opinion will get this right.”