Philadelphia area labor: ‘Janus won’t stop us!’
PFT members rally in Philadelphia following the Supreme Court's anti-union Janus decision, June 27. | Philadelphia Federation of Teachers

PHILADELPHIA—A crowd of about 200 union members, supporters, clergy, and elected officials gathered outside the Federal building yesterday to show their determination to double down on organizing and activism to resist the assault on working people signaled by the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case.

A spirited and diverse gathering heard speeches urging stepped up resistance to the attack coming from the three branches of the federal government.

Speakers included trade union leaders and rank and file workers from the City of Philadelphia and from the surrounding counties. Tom Tosti, president of the Bucks County Central Labor Council and Director of AFSCME, told the crowd, “We have to continue to fight, continue to organize” and mentioned several union members from suburban counties who are running for office in November.

Jerry Jordan, president of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers said, “The Supreme Court has motivated labor. We will continue to speak out for working families; we will be working like never before in the coming campaign, and we will be active on election day!”

“Our power is in the workers’ movement,” said Dan Symonds, a teacher and rank-and-file member of the PFT. He described the conditions in the public schools, saying, “I see oversized classes, I see missing and unstaffed libraries….”

A retired member of the United Food and Commercial Workers, John Meyerson, recalled his early days working for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, “When I started out, our members were our bestorganizers. When somebody new came into the shop, we signed them up. We didn’t wait for the boss; we didn’t wait for a law!”


Ben Sears
Ben Sears

Ben Sears is a retired teacher and AFT member in Philadelphia. He is the author, as John Bennett Sears, of the book "The Electrical Unions and the Cold War" (International Publishers 2019).