After Janus, Some Teachers Unions Say They’re Stronger Than Ever

When the Supreme Court first handed down its landmark decision in Janus vs. AFSCME many teachers unions feared it would be a death knell. Instead, some organizations have found it to be rallying cry.

That’s the case in the L.A. County enclaves of Burbank and Glendale, where teachers unions report a sense of increased unity after Janus. In fact, the Burbank Teachers Assn. has secured two teachers’ raises since the decision.

In Janus, the Court ruled that government workers cannot be forced to join a union or be compelled to pay for the cost of collective bargaining. But that has barely affected the ranks in Burbank and Glendale.

“We planned for a 20% loss [in members] and we’re nowhere near that,” Taline Arsenian, president of the Glendale Teachers Assn., told the Los Angeles Times. “In Glendale, if we include the people who were ... nonmembers before Janus, it’s about 2% of our bargaining unit.”

The Burbank Teachers Assn. went from 875 members to 850.

Roger Bowerman, president of the Glendale Community College Guild, said Janus has had “virtually no impact” on membership. What it did do was serve as a wake-up call for union members, increasing a sense of urgency and solidarity, Abasta says.

“There was some fear Janus would divide us. I believe it’s had the opposite effect. As a union, we’re as unified as ever.”


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