News Press Release

Statement: Janus Decision Threatens Financial Security of African American Workers

June 27, 2018

Today’s decision could dismantle unions as we know them, said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 in the case Janus v. AFSCME on the issue of whether the First Amendment prohibits unions from charging fees to workers who elect not to participate in collective bargaining activities, stating that the fees infringe upon non-member worker’s right to free speech.

This case was preceded by two similar cases Harris v. Quinn (2014) and Friedrichs v. California Teachers Assn., (2016). In Friedrichs, the court was “deadlocked” on the issue with four justices siding with the non-member workers and the other four siding with the union. Recent Supreme Court addition, Justice Neil Gorsuch, broke the tie siding with Janus, thus overturning the long standing precedent in Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed..

“Protecting the fundamental rights of all citizens is extremely important. Civil Rights and Workers Rights are inextricably linked. Today’s decision could dismantle unions as we know them, which has paved the way for African Americans and other marginalized groups to break economic barriers, reach into the middle class, and establish financial security for their family. We must protect worker’s ability to unionize and create fair treatment and pay for all,” said Derrick Johnson, NAACP President and CEO.


Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities. You can read more about the NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting To become a member of the NAACP, visit

Media Contacts:

Aba Blankson
Vice President, Communications and Digital Media

Malik Russell
Director of Communications