“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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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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Labor leader calls on Republicans to focus on expanding access to voting
DETROIT – The president of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO, Rick Blocker, issued the following statement today commenting on news that Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive, is abandoning voter suppression legislation for the 2016 legislative session. House Bills 6066-6068, sponsored by Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons, R-Alto, would have created new barriers to voting for Michigan seniors and people of color.
“Stopping these Republican voter suppression bills is a big win for democracy,” said Blocker. “This legislation is utterly shameful and downright discriminatory. Rep. Lyons’ bills were specifically written to rig the system for Republicans by making it harder for senior citizens and people of color to vote in Michigan elections. That’s just plain wrong, and it’s downright un-American. It’s time for politicians like Rep. Lyons to do what’s right for all Michiganders, not just their own political party. We need them to focus on making it easier to vote, not harder.”
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Labor support for energy legislation continues to grow
Lansing, Mich. — The Michigan State AFL-CIO, and its more than one million active and retired union members across the state, today pledged their support for Senate Bills 437 and 438. The state federation urged the Michigan House to act quickly to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for all of Michigan.
“Senate Bills 437 and 438 are critical to ensuring long-term energy reliability for working families and businesses,” said Ron Bieber, Michigan State AFL-CIO president. “This legislation supports comprehensive energy planning and aligns with both state and federal energy policies. But more than that, this legislation puts Michigan, and Michigan workers, first.”
The Michigan State AFL-CIO joins five other statewide labor organizations, including:
- International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers,
- International Union of Operating Engineers,
- Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council, and
- Michigan Laborers’ District Council,
- Utility Workers Union of America,
and many other businesses and community and non-profit organizations who have voiced their support for the energy legislation.
“This legislation is well thought-out, and it has been analyzed and discussed for two years,” Bieber added. “It is critical the Michigan House of Representatives vote to pass this essential and comprehensive legislation before year’s end, so that we may provide all Michiganders with the reliable and affordable energy they need to power their lives.”