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Michigan Unions Support Democratic Plan to Fix State Unemployment Agency

LANSING – Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber issued the following statement today supporting new legislation announced by House and Senate Democrats to fix the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency:

“Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency is broken, and it’s time to fix it. Governor Snyder and Lansing Republicans manipulated the state’s unemployment laws to favor their corporate campaign donors, and working people have been taking it on the chin ever since. It’s time to make this right, and start treating jobless workers with the dignity and respect they deserve.

“This legislation offers real solutions to repair the damage done to people’s lives by fully reimbursing those who were falsely accused of fraud, by reducing the outrageous penalties, by helping victims repair their credit, and by cracking down on corporations that refuse to pay their unemployment taxes. Most importantly, this package will help working families by restoring the six weeks of benefits that were cut by Lansing Republicans, and by increasing the maximum weekly benefits.

“The legislature needs to get this done, pronto. No more excuses. No more delays. Republicans need to clean up the mess they created, get their priorities straight, and start working to make Michigan’s economy work for everyone, not just the wealthy and big corporations.”

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State Budget Should Prioritize Good Jobs for Working Families

Snyder’s budget shows Lansing Republicans side with corporate donors over working families

LANSING – Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber issued the following statement today on Governor Rick Snyder’s budget presentation:

“Today’s budget shows that Governor Snyder and Lansing Republicans care more about helping their wealthy corporate campaign donors than regular working people. It’s time to get our priorities straight and build an economy that works for everyone, including the middle class.

“We need a state budget that will create good-paying jobs for working families by ending tax breaks for corporations that send Michigan jobs overseas. And we need a real plan to fix our crumbling roads and infrastructure that makes corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.

“But after six years of total control in Lansing, it’s clear that Republicans still don’t get it. They gave corporations a $2 billion tax break, while raising taxes on seniors and working families. And Republicans passed a roads package that raised taxes and fees on regular families, making it more expensive to own a car. Meanwhile, our roads are still falling apart and getting worse every single day.

“This budget should serve as a stark reminder to all working families that Governor Snyder and Lansing Republicans are not on your side.”

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Statement from the Michigan AFL-CIO on Betsy DeVos confirmation vote

“This is a sad day for anyone who cares about public education in America,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Betsy DeVos is the least qualified cabinet nominee in recent memory. She has spent her entire adult life using her family’s personal fortune to destroy public education as we know it. By confirming Betsy DeVos as the next Secretary of Education, Republicans have made it clear that they are not on the side of America’s students, parents, and educators.”

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Michigan AFL-CIO hails passage of important veterans home legislation

McBroom amendment on civil service rules helps ensure professional care for Michigan vets

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO hailed the passage of important veterans home legislation today by the Michigan Senate.

The state labor federation had previously opposed the package of bills, which originally sought to bypass civil service commission rules that ensure a professional, long-term workforce in state government. However, an amendment added last night by Rep. Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) requires veterans home employees be subject to civil service commission rules, which will help ensure well-qualified caregivers are hired at new Michigan veterans homes.

“This is a big win for Michigan veterans,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “We need to honor the service and sacrifice of the men and women who protected us in uniform, and this important legislation paves the way for the state to build new veterans homes across the state.

“The lesson from the Grand Rapids Veterans Home is that privatization just doesn’t work. J2S routinely cut corners to pad their profits while our veterans were forced to live in deplorable, substandard conditions. We must never allow that to happen again.

“Thanks to Rep. McBroom’s amendment, this package of bills helps ensure that new veterans homes hire a professional, well-trained staff to care for our veterans. Rep. McBroom deserves a lot of credit for his leadership, and we’re thrilled to see these bills advance.”

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