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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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Michigan Unions: Brian Calley is Bad News for Working Families

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today commenting on news reports that Lt. Governor Brian Calley is planning to launch a campaign for governor.

“Rick Snyder, Brian Calley, and Bill Schuette all have one thing in common – they’ve all been terrible for Michigan’s working families,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Republicans in Lansing have spent the past six years rigging the economy to work for their corporate campaign donors while regular working families struggle to make ends meet. As Lt. Governor, Calley cast the tie-breaking vote that gave corporations a $2 billion tax break, raised taxes on working families, and created a new Retirement Tax that devastated Michigan seniors. The last thing Michigan needs is a third term for Rick Snyder, and that’s exactly what Calley and Schuette represent.”

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Michigan AFL-CIO Supports CMU Employees, Opposes Job Cuts

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today to support campus employees at Central Michigan University, and oppose proposed job cuts:

“Laying off employees at CMU is a bad idea,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Professors, instructors, faculty members, custodians, skilled trades, grounds and warehouse workers, electricians, HVAC and powerhouse workers are the ones who make CMU happen. Laying off workers and outsourcing these vital jobs would be bad for students, bad for faculty, and bad for the entire campus. It’s time for CMU to get serious about controlling spending and come up with real solutions to cut the deficit without cutting jobs that benefit the whole community.”

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Statement on new report that shows Michigan roads rapidly deteriorating

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement commenting on a new report that found that Michigan’s roads and bridges will continue to rapidly deteriorate in coming years:

“If anyone deserves the blame for Michigan’s unsafe roads and bridges, it’s Governor Snyder and Lansing Republicans,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “The roads package they passed two years ago made it more expensive to own a car by raising taxes and fees on working families, but didn’t require corporations to pay a single penny more to fix our crumbling infrastructure. That needs to change. If this report tells us anything, it’s that Michigan needs real solutions to fix our roads, not more gimmicks, and we can’t force regular families to shoulder the burden alone.”

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