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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FLUSHING – The Michigan AFL-CIO formally endorsed Gretchen Whitmer for governor today at a press conference held at UA Local 370’s training center near Flint. The state labor federation represents 42 unions and over one million active and retired union members across Michigan.
“Working people in Michigan need a governor who will be in our corner,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “That’s why we’re endorsing Gretchen, because she’s a strong progressive leader who’s always had the backs of working families, and she’s the only candidate in this race with a real plan to fix the damn roads and create more good-paying jobs for Michigan. Our members are ready to roll up their sleeves, knock on doors, make phone calls, and get out the vote to help elect Gretchen as our next governor.”
As a progressive leader in the Michigan Legislature, Whitmer helped pass the Healthy Michigan law to expand Medicaid and cover 680,000 more Michiganders, including children, seniors, low-income and working-class families. Whitmer also led the fight against Governor Rick Snyder’s cuts to education and attacks on workers’ rights.
“Working people are the backbone of Michigan, and that’s why I’m so proud to have the support of so many hardworking union members in this race,” said Whitmer. “Michiganders have been working harder and harder, but working people aren’t getting any more money in their pockets. When I’m governor, we’re going to make smart investments to fix the roads, expand access to quality, affordable health care, and create jobs so that every hardworking Michigander gets a paycheck that can actually support a family.”
The Michigan AFL-CIO’s endorsement was approved by a unanimous vote of the executive council following an extensive candidate screening process, which included three town hall forums in Warren, Detroit, and Saginaw, featuring all four Democratic candidates for governor.
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