California teachers denounce Janus v. AFSCME decision as an attack on their voice and on public education

News Release

Teachers and school employees vow to continue the fight for their professions, their students, and public education

This morning the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of Mark Janus in the Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 case. The ruling overturned decades of precedent and eliminated the ability of public sector unions to collect fair share, or agency fees.

While promoted as a case about the First Amendment rights of employees, teachers believe the Janus case is a straightforward attempt by deep-pocketed interests, with the compliance of the Supreme Court, to limit the voice of educators and other public sector workers.

“The Janus decision is a direct threat to our ability to advocate for the pay, benefits, and working conditions that we need to get our important work done,” says California Federation of Teachers President Joshua Pechthalt. “By seeking to eliminate our ability to advocate for our jobs, our schools, and our vital public services those behind the Janus case directly threaten the public education system and the students and families that we serve. The decision also hurts the ability of the entire labor movement to defend vital social services such as Social Security and Medicare.”

Anticipating the setback in the Janus decision, the California Federation of Teachers and other education and public sector unions from throughout the country have engaged in a renewed organizing program over the past few years. The message in their campaigns has been straightforward: The threat is real, but if we stand together, we can prevail for our profession and our students.

“California teachers and school workers are fiercely dedicated to our students and their families because we believe in the power and promise of public education to transform lives and to lift up communities,” continues Joshua Pechthalt. “We know that the best way to protect our students and our schools is to stand together to raise standards for our profession and support for our schools and vital public services. And we are not going to back down, regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Janus case.”

The California Federation of Teachers represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT. More information at