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Instead of Destroying Teacher Pensions, Lansing GOP Should Fix the Roads

New legislation hurts students, costs taxpayers billions, doesn’t fix roads

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today commenting on new legislation introduced by a handful of Lansing Republicans that will destroy pensions for Michigan’s teachers and school employees.

“This is one of the dumbest ideas to come out of Lansing in a long time,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “The key to a good job is a good education. We should be doing everything we can to attract the best and the brightest people to careers in public education, to help our kids get the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs.

“But this bill does the exact opposite. It will cost taxpayers billions of dollars, and it will completely destroy pensions for new teachers, bus drivers, and librarians, leaving them without access to the most efficient and secure method of saving for retirement. That’s great news for the CEOs on Wall Street, but it’s bad for students, bad for parents, and bad for taxpayers.

“Republicans in Lansing are deeply divided on this issue, and for good reason. As former Sen. Roger Kahn explained, ‘There is no way to close the pension plan and provide a similar benefit without also costing the state a heck of a lot more money.’ He’s right, and his fellow Republicans should listen.

“But let’s be clear about what’s really going on here. Republicans in the legislature are getting enormous pressure from wealthy corporate donors like the DeVos family, who would rather take pensions away from teachers than pay their fair share to improve our schools or fix our roads and bridges. Republicans would be wise to listen to Sen. Kahn and reject this legislation. Instead, they should just focus on fixing the damn roads.”

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New Report: Michigan CEOs Paid 391 Times More Than Rank-and-File Workers

Searchable Executive PayWatch Report: www.PayWatch.org

LANSING – A new report from the AFL-CIO reveals that S&P 500 CEOs in Michigan were paid 391 times more than rank-and-file workers in 2016. The annual Executive PayWatch report shows that average compensation for S&P 500 CEOs in Michigan was $14,712,548 in 2016, while production and nonsupervisory workers earned an average salary of $37,600.

“Right now the economy is out of balance,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “That’s no accident. It’s because Republicans in Lansing and Washington have manipulated the rules of the economy to favor their corporate donors, while regular working families struggle to get by. We need to build an economy that works for everyone, including the middle class. That means giving workers the right to speak up together for stronger paychecks, the right to earn paid time off, and more time to be with family.”

The Executive PayWatch website is the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking CEO pay. This year’s Executive PayWatch report also found:

– The highest paid executive in Michigan was Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris, who earned $22,963,059 in 2016, which amounts to 610 times more than the average rank-and-file worker’s pay.

– The average S&P 500 CEO in Michigan earns approximately $7,073 per hour. At that rate, these CEOs only have to work about 5 hours and 20 minutes to make as much as an average rank-and-file worker earns in an entire year.

– S&P 500 CEOs in Michigan were paid 795 times more than full-time minimum wage workers, who earn just $8.90 per hour in Michigan.

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Michigan Republicans to Working Families: Drop Dead

Upton, Walberg, Bishop, Trott, Bergman vote to take health care away from 24 million Americans, gut protections for pre-existing conditions

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement commenting on today’s Trumpcare vote, which was supported by Michigan Reps. Fred Upton, Tim Walberg, Mike Bishop, Dave Trott, and Jack Bergman:

“Fred Upton likes to say he’s for all of us, but the truth is, he’s really just looking out for the big insurance companies,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “After grandstanding on pre-existing conditions earlier this week, Upton’s amendment still throws people with pre-existing conditions like cancer under the bus. Even worse, his amendment is just an $8 billion giveaway to the big insurance companies who bankroll Republican campaigns.

“Fred Upton, Tim Walberg, Mike Bishop, Dave Trott, Jack Bergman, and every Republican who voted for this Trumpcare bill should be ashamed of themselves. Taking health care away from 24 million Americans is wrong, it’s bad for families, and it’s bad for Michigan.”

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New Report: 134 Michigan Workers Died, 96,000 Injured on the Job in 2015

Michigan has 48th-lowest penalties for job safety violations

LANSING – A new report from the AFL-CIO shows that the state of Michigan reported 134 workplace fatalities and 96,000 workplace-related injuries and illnesses in 2015. The report, titled Death on the Job: The Toll of Neglect, compiles data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for 2015, the most recent year data is available. 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.

“Everyone deserves to have a safe place to work,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Even one death in the workplace is too many, and this report shows us that Michigan still has a long way to go to keep people safe on the job.”

According to the report, the average penalty for OSHA violations in Michigan was just $763 in 2016, which ranks 48th-lowest in the country. As of 2017, there are 55 state Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHO) and 1 federal CSHO inspector responsible for inspecting job sites across the entire state of Michigan. Based on the number of job sites in the state, it would take these 56 inspectors 51 years to inspect each workplace in Michigan one time.

“Michigan needs to get its priorities straight,” said Bieber. “Instead of giving more tax breaks to their corporate donors, Governor Snyder and Republicans in the legislature need to focus on improving lives for regular working people, and that includes safer workplaces. We need more inspectors on the beat to enforce our workplace safety laws and hold corporations accountable when they cut corners, break the law, and put workers’ lives at risk.”

Tomorrow, workers in Detroit, Saginaw, Calumet, Hancock, and Marquette 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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