Lansing- Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO released the following statement in reaction to Republican Gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette choosing Kent County Clerk Lisa Lyons as his running mate:
“The Schuette-Lyons ticket sounds like the DeVos dream team for rigging the rules in favor of wealthy corporate special interests. Lisa Lyons spent her time in Lansing attacking the freedoms of working people and their families. She voted to give a massive tax break to corporations and balanced the budget by taxing the pensions of hard working seniors and cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in education funding. She voted for the disastrous right-to-work law which undermines our ability to protect the things we need to sustain our families. Her comparison of teachers to hogs needing to be slaughtered shows she doesn’t value the experience of educators in our classrooms. Lisa Lyons has shown us time and time again where her loyalties lie, and it’s not with the working folks of Michigan.”
LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO released the following statement from President Ron Bieber regarding the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court:
“Judge Kavanaugh has a record of siding with the interests of corporations and employers and siding against the interests of working people and their families. The opinions that have been written by Judge Kavanaugh would undermine the freedoms of working men and women, make the work place less safe and make it harder to earn a fair wage to sustain a family. His nomination comes at a time when wealthy corporate interests continue to attack the freedoms of working people to further rig the rules in favor of the rich and powerful. Now more than ever, it’s important for working people to exercise their freedom to stand together to protect what our families need to build a better Michigan and a better America.
“Working families need a better deal and we need a government that works for everyone in all three branches. We are determined to make our voices heard and to elect leaders who have our back. The Senate should reject this nomination and demand a justice who has a record of supporting the rights of working people.”
LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today from President Ron Bieber on the Supreme Court decision on Janus v. AFSCME 31.
“As billionaires and corporate special interests seek to further rig our economy against working people across the country, this is the latest attempt to take away our rights to join together in unions. It is a shame that these special interests have manipulated the Supreme Court to further their harmful agenda.
This decision comes at a point in time when thousands of Michigan workers are recommitting to join unions and are launching new organizing drives, and as support for labor unions has risen to its highest level in years. Indeed, Michigan added 52,000 new union members in 2017– the biggest annual jump in union membership in Michigan in over a decade. Even more importantly, it means there are now more union members in Michigan than there were in 2012 — the year Gov. Rick Snyder signed right-to-work legislation into law.
So we have faced these attacks before and we have weathered the storm well. The labor movement remains a strong and vibrant force for working people and will continue fighting to sustain our families, improve our workplaces and make our communities stronger regardless of the court’s ruling.”
LANSING – A new report from the AFL-CIO shows that the state of Michigan had 162 workplace fatalities and 97,000 workplace-related injuries and illnesses in 2016. The report, titled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, compiles data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2016, the most recent year data is available. These figures rose from the previous year when 134 workers were killed and 96,000 injured in 2015. The new data was released in advance of Workers Memorial Day, which takes place on April 28 to commemorate workers who have died or suffered illness or injury on the job.
This year marks an especially urgent fight as the Trump administration continues to roll back and weaken protections and rights for working people. These actions have ranged from repealing, weakening or delaying standards on toxic chemicals and safety hazards like workplace violence, to cutbacks in enforcement, and efforts to eliminate key job safety research and training programs.
“Every American has the right to a safe and healthy workplace. Hardworking men and women putting in long hours deserve to know that they’re going to make it home at the end of the day,” said Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber. “Yet, Michigan families are here mourning their loved ones. We’re here to fight for workplace safety for everyone.”
“Our leaders in government and business should be protecting working people’s lives above all else,” said Bieber. “It’s time for change. Working people deserve good, safe jobs now.”
Nationally, 5,190 American workers died on the job in 2016, an increase from 4,836 deaths the previous year. Another estimated 50,000 to 60,000 died from occupational diseases, meaning approximately 150 workers died on the job each day from preventable, hazardous workplace conditions. Overall, the national job fatality rate increased to 3.6 per 100,000 workers from 3.4 in 2015.
Startlingly, the national figures show that workplace violence is now the second-leading cause of workplace death, accounting for 866 workplace deaths, including 500 homicides.
Other report highlights show that the construction, transportation and agriculture industries remain among the most dangerous. In 2016, 991 construction workers were killed—the highest total of any sector. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting was the most dangerous industry sector per capita, with a fatality rate of 23.2 per 100,000 workers.
On Saturday, working people across Michigan will gather at Workers Memorial Day ceremonies to honor those who were hurt or killed on the job. Attendees will also speak out against recent actions taken by the Trump administration to roll back and block regulations that protect workers from serious hazards, like deadly silica dust, chemical explosions, and workplace violence, as well as cuts to the job safety budget.
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