Archives Michigan AFL-CIO

Washtenaw Union Members Urge Rep. Walberg to Oppose Unfair Trade Agreement

Driskell speaks out against TPP, tells Walberg to protect Michigan jobs

ANN ARBOR – Washtenaw County union members gathered at IBEW Local 252 in Ann Arbor yesterday evening to make phone calls to Rep. Tim Walberg’s offices, urging the Congressman to oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Working people are opposing the TPP trade agreement because it fails to address currency manipulation, has weak rules of origin on cars and auto parts, and will weaken Buy American policies. State Rep. Gretchen Driskell spoke to volunteers at the phone bank, and called on Walberg to protect Michigan jobs.

“The TPP is bad news for working people, and it will really hurt Michigan’s auto industry,” said Ian Robinson, President of the Huron Valley Central Labor Council, and a research scientist at the University of Michigan. “The last thing our state needs is another bad trade deal like NAFTA, and that’s exactly what TPP represents. We need Congress to adopt trade policies that help us export more Michigan-made products, instead of Michigan jobs. Tim Walberg needs to do the right thing by opposing TPP.”

Last night union members from the IBEW, AFT Michigan, UAW, and other local unions made approximately 1,000 phone calls to Congressman Walberg’s offices in Jackson and Washington, D.C.

“American workers and manufacturers have been devastated by trade deals in the past and the sweeping terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership would be no different,” said Driskell. “Unfortunately, some politicians, like Congressman Tim Walberg, are putting special interests ahead of Michigan’s working families and supporting a deal that would make it easier to ship US jobs overseas.”

In 2014, Michigan’s trade deficit was $66.8 billion – one of the highest trade deficits in the entire country. Since NAFTA was signed into law, Michigan has lost more than 254,000 good-paying manufacturing jobs.

By failing to address currency manipulation, America’s huge trade deficit with TPP countries like Japan will only get bigger – making it easier for foreign automakers to sell their cars here, and harder for Michigan’s car companies to sell vehicles overseas. Furthermore, the TPP includes weak rules of origin on autos and auto parts, which will reward outsourcing and hurt auto exports and jobs.

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The Huron Valley Central Labor Council represents 31 local unions, belonging to 18 national and international unions, representing over 10,000 union members in Washtenaw and Livingston Counties

Statement on Resignation of Darnell Earley, Legislation Punishing Detroit Teachers

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today commenting on the resignation of Darnell Earley, and legislation passed by the Senate Education Committee that punishes Detroit teachers for speaking up on behalf of their students.

“Darnell Earley was a complete disaster as the Emergency Manager of Detroit Public Schools and the City of Flint,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “But let’s be clear, Rick Snyder is the one who’s ultimately responsible for Earley’s failures in Flint and Detroit.

“It’s time for the governor to step up and work with both parties in Lansing to deliver immediate relief to schools in Detroit, where our students are being forced to learn in deplorable classrooms with crumbling ceilings, mold, dead rats, and insufficient heating. No child should ever have to learn in schools with such dire conditions.

“That’s why today’s vote in the Michigan Senate to punish Detroit teachers is such an outrage. These men and women are on the front lines every day fighting to protect their students. Fannie Lou Hamer said it best, teachers are ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired.’ The last thing we should be doing is punishing teachers for speaking up and shining a light on the classrooms their students are forced to learn in.

“Governor Snyder needs to stop treating Flint and DPS like public relations problems, and start doing what’s right for the people of Michigan.”

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New Data: Michigan Union Membership Increased in 2015

Michigan unions added 36,000 members last year

LANSING – The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data today that show the percent of wage and salary workers in Michigan who were members of unions increased from 14.5 percent in 2014 to 15.2 percent in 2015. Labor unions in Michigan added approximately 36,000 new members last year.

“This is good news for all working people in Michigan,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Despite the unrelenting attacks from Lansing politicians, working people understand the value of collective bargaining. A union contract gives working people the power to speak up together with one clear voice for fair wages, strong benefits, and time to be with family. And when working people earn wages that can sustain a family, it helps our small businesses and creates more jobs. Lansing needs to get the message, and start working together to make Michigan’s economy work for all of us, not just the wealthy.”

Nationally, the union membership rate held steady at 11.1 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Michigan was one of the only Great Lakes states to see an increase in union membership in 2015: Ohio was down from 12.4 percent in 2014 to 12.3 percent in 2015; Indiana was down from 10.7 percent in 2014 to 10.0 percent in 2015; Illinois was up from 15.1 percent in 2014 to 15.2 percent in 2015; Wisconsin was down from 11.7 percent in 2014 to 8.3 percent in 2015; and Minnesota was unchanged from 14.2 percent in 2014 to 14.2 percent in 2015.

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How You Can Help Flint

Michigan’s working men and women have stepped up in a variety of ways to help the people of Flint – and there’s still more we can do to help people who have been hurt by the Flint Water Crisis. Here’s a quick rundown of what you can do:


If you are in the area and wish to volunteer, the United Way of Genesee County, the Michigan Community Service Commission and the American Red Cross of East Central Bay-Michigan have come together to operate the volunteer center.

They need volunteers to do data entry (inside work), as well as going out into the community (must be at least 18 years of age) to distribute water, filters, etc.

Volunteer Center reception hours:  For now it’s safe to tell people the Volunteer Center will be open 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

American Red Cross
1401 S. Grand Traverse St
Flint, MI  48503

Please note: Large groups wishing to volunteer should visit . This site was set-up by the Red Cross and provides all the information someone may ever need. The needs for volunteers is ever changing, so ALL groups please go to this site and someone from the Red Cross will contact you. Individuals can also visit this site to learn more and to fill-out a registration form, however individuals are still welcome to just show up at the Red Cross.


Donating Water

In regards to dropping off donated water, donations can be delivered at the following locations:

WEEKDAYS – 8:00AM -5:00 PM

Pallets and cases over 100

Loose cases (non-pallet and less than 100)

  • Catholic Charities – 901 Chippewa Street, Flint, Michigan 48503
  • Please do not call the organization. They need to keep their lines open for clients.


  • ALL water donations go to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan on weekends regardless of the size


Filters, faucets, multiple semis, etc.,  should be directed to


Organizations Wanting to be a Distribution Site

Any church or 501c3 organization that would like to become a WATER distribution site should be directed to the Food Bank. They should call the Food Bank’s main line at: (810) 239-4441. This is for WATER only. The organization will need to staff and coordinate the distribution themselves. The state is currently not accepting anymore sites to distribute water, filters and test kits.

Where Can People get Water, Filters and Test Kits?

There are countless locations throughout the City providing just water, but something that is consistent and best to give callers is the 5 fire station locations. Residents can obtain water, filters, replacement cartridges and Lead Testing Kits at any of the 5 Fire stations.

The Fire Stations listed below are open 7 days a week from 9:00 a.m. -9:00 p.m.


  • Fire Station #1 310 East 5th St.
  • Fire Station #3 1525 Martin Luther King Ave
  • Fire Station #5 3402 Western Road
  • Fire Station #6 716 West Pierson Road
  • Fire Station #8 202 East Atherton Road
  • These stations are staffed by National Guard members
  • Residents are NOT required to provide ID or an address. They are only asking for addresses as this is the best way for them to track which homes have test kits and filters. This change was made to hopefully encourage the undocumented and others to visit the fire stations. Once completed, residents should return their testing kit to a fire station.
  • WATER PITCHERS: The fire stations are currently NOT distributing the water pitchers as they are low in stock. Pitchers are only being given to someone if the faucet mount PUR/Brita filters will not fit the faucet. Individuals need to call 211 to get on this list. Before they receive a pitcher the person delivering will verify a faucet mount filter will not work. This may change if more Zero Water filters become available.


For people who truly have no way of leaving their home, they should call 211 to get on the home delivery list.

Please note:  The sheriff’s department is about 3-4 days behind once a person calls 211. If they can’t wait the 3 days, please encourage them to have someone else go to the fire station. Also meals on wheels is providing water with every meal just in case the homebound individual is part of that program.

Donating Money

The United Way of Genesee County is accepting monetary donations for the purchase of filters, bottled water, emergency support services and prevention efforts. One hundred percent of these funds are used for these projects and no administrative fee is assessed.  Donations can be done either by:

Online at, click the GIVE button.  This will then provide a choice to designate to the Water Fund.

Checks mailed to: United way of Genesee County
P.O. Box 949
Flint, MI  48501
Memo line: Water Fund
*Note please add attention Cindy Cromwell

Please note: any remaining funds will be directed to the Flint Child Health & Development Fund at This fund will provide aid to children and families with interventions that support positive health outcomes, such as:

  • Optimal child health & development
  • Early childhood education
  • Continuous access to a pediatric medical home
  • Access to infant and child behavioral services
  • Nutrition education
  • Healthy food access
  • Safe & healthy home environments
  • Integrated social services
  • Research

Solidarity Note

  • Any union looking to consolidate efforts, please contact Cindy Cromwell (Office: (810)762-5827 or Email:
  • All UAW activity should be brought to the attention of Teresa McGinnis at


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