Equal Pay Day is not a holiday. It is a day to recognize the many structural inequities, from sexism to racism to the maternal wage gap, that result in U.S. women earning 82 cents—and Black women earning 68 cents—for every dollar their white male counterparts make.
This week, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down three 5-4 decisions with terrible consequences for workers, women, and immigrants. A Better Balance unites in solidarity with all those affected. And we are as resolved as ever to fight for justice for all vulnerable groups.
Today, in Janus v. AFSCME, the Court held that government workers who do not join unions cannot be required to help pay for collective bargaining, even though these workers will benefit from this collective action. This ruling will dramatically slash the resources of public-sector unions and limit 17 million government workers’ ability to bargain for higher wages, improved workplace conditions, and anti-discrimination protections. Coming on the heels of another anti-worker decision decided earlier this term, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, in which the Court ruled that employers can prohibit employees from pursuing class-action lawsuits or other collective actions, Janus further erodes workers’ rights and reduces their ability to support themselves and their families. Today’s decision particularly affects women and women of color; one in six public sector workers are Black women, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Additionally, the Court yesterday in Trump v. Hawaii upheld President Trump’s discriminatory executive order banning immigrants from Muslim-majority countries. We agree with dissenting Justice Sotomayor that this decision tosses aside “our Nation’s deep commitment to religious plurality and tolerance.” The Muslim travel ban is part of the Trump Administration’s shameful anti-immigrant agenda, which until last week included the depraved policy of separating parents and children at our nation’s borders. We continue to support the rights of immigrants including the right to make a better future in the U.S. for themselves and their families.
Finally, in another decision handed down yesterday, NIFLA v. Becerra, the Court struck down on First Amendment grounds a California law requiring clinics that primarily serve pregnant women, including so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” to provide their patients with information about California’s public programs that provide free or low-cost access to contraception, prenatal care, and abortion. This decision allows crisis pregnancy centers to continue to deceive women about their options, placing a huge roadblock in the way of women’s ability to make their own reproductive decisions and control the paths of their own lives.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, President Trump’s Supreme Court appointee, sided with the majority in all three 5-4 decisions. With Justice Kennedy’s announcement this afternoon of his upcoming retirement, President Trump has the opportunity to appoint another justice who will shape the future of our country. This appointment has far-reaching implications for the rights of women, workers, people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people. It is therefore critical that the president appoint—and Congress take care to approve—someone who will uphold the rights of all, particularly the most vulnerable among us.