AFSCME gets Supreme Court snicker

Lawyer quip on public sector employees being underpaid generates laugh

The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments this week in Janus v. AFSCME, a case that if successful would virtually mean right-to-work status for all public sector workers across the nation. At the hearing the AFSCME union’s attorney made a comment that elicited laughter from the court room.

Chief Justice John Roberts asked if public sector unions are involved in advocacy when it comes to wages and a state budget.

“I wouldn't put it quite that way,” AFSCME attorney David Frederick said. “What I would say is that of course most public servants are underpaid, and I will stipulate to that before this body.”

The people in the chamber laughed.

Richard Trumka, the president of the national AFSCME, had his total compensation in 2017 increase to $315,368, a 7 percent raise from 2016.

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As part of our efforts on government transparency, we obtained data on the compensation of most public employees in the state. This information has been used to fact check claims about salaries, verify data from other open records requests, and hold government spending accountable.

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