Reform Jewish Leader Decries Anti-Worker Supreme Court Decision

June 27, 2018 

Reform Jewish Leader Decries Anti-Worker Supreme Court Decision

WASHINGTON – Today, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, Council 31, reversing decades-old precedent that allowed unions to collect fees from nonmembers to support collective bargaining and contract administration from which members and nonmembers alike benefited.

In response to the ruling, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Movement:

"Today, the Supreme Court ruled against America’s workers. By preventing unions from collecting fees from all of the people they represent, the Court has helped undermine unions’ ability to fight for fair treatment of workers.

"Unions fulfill a vital responsibility protecting the rights and well-being of workers. Today’s ruling misguidedly rejects significant evidence supporting the value of fair share fees, which the Court has long held to be compatible with the First Amendment. We are extremely disappointed in the Court’s decision to reverse this precedent.

"Judaism has a strong tradition of supporting the right to employment with dignity. The Torah teaches, 'You shall not abuse a needy and destitute laborer' (Deut. 24:14-15). Jewish activists and workers historically played key roles in the labor movement, improving the lives of workers for more than a century. By crippling unions’ ability to secure safe working conditions and fair pay, this decision violates the Jewish understanding of dignified work.

"It is now time for Congress to codify workers’ rights in law. We call on our elected officials to endow unions with the power they need to ensure workers have a fighting chance in securing fair employment conditions."


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.