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Senator O’Brien, Representative Iden Get Failing Grades on Labor Scorecard

Kalamazoo-area lawmakers frequently vote against working families

LANSING – State Representative Brandt Iden (R – Oshtemo Township) received a score of just 13% percent in a new legislative scorecard released yesterday by the Michigan AFL-CIO. State Senator Margaret O’Brien (R -Portage) faired only slightly better with a 50% score. The state labor federation analyzed the voting records of all State Representatives on 8 key votes and all State Senators on 6 votes during the 2017-18 legislative session. A copy of the scorecard is available online.

“The working families of Kalamazoo County deserve better than a 50/50 chance of whether Margaret O’Brien is going to have their backs or not,” said Jonathan Byrd, President of the South Central Michigan Area Labor Council. “Whether it’s jeopardizing the education of our students by letting non-certified teachers into the classroom or to slash the paychecks of working families by voting to repeal prevailing wage, Margaret O’Brien has let our community down.”

O’Brien and Iden both voted to repeal prevailing wage which will cut paychecks across the state and open critical infrastructure projects to low-skilled workers. Both lawmakers also voted in support HB 5141 which allows uncertified teachers to teach certain career and technology programs. Additionally, Iden voted for SB 574 which allowed for-profit charter and cyber schools to receive funding from local millages meant for improving public schools.

“Brandt Iden turned his back on the hardworking men and women in the skilled trades when he voted to cut their paychecks and repeal prevailing wage,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “At a time when working families need someone fighting for them to create on economy that works for everyone, Brandt Iden has instead worked to manipulate the rules to benefit wealth corporate interests.”

Rep. Tom Barrett Receives Another Failing Grade on Labor Scorecard

 Republican Senate hopeful voted against working people on 7 out of 8 key bills

LANSING – State Representative Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) received a score of just 13% percent in a new legislative scorecard released yesterday by the Michigan AFL-CIO. The state labor federation analyzed the voting records of all State Representatives on 8 key votes during the 2017-18 legislative session. A copy of the scorecard is available online.

“Tom Barrett voted to slash the pay of working families when he voted to repeal prevailing wage. The studies show repealing prevailing wage won’t save the state a dime, but instead takes money out of the paychecks of working men and women and instead lines the pockets of corporate CEOs,” said Paul Hufnagel, President of the Greater Lansing Labor Council. “Barrett has shown that when working families need him most, he’s going to turn his back on them and side with corporate special interests instead.”

Barrett voted against the interests of Michigan’s working families on key issues such as the vote to repeal prevailing wage which will cut paychecks across the state and open critical infrastructure projects to low-skilled workers. Barrett also voted for HB 5141 which allows uncertified teachers into the classroom and for SB 574 which allows for-profit charter and cyber schools to receive money from local millages meant for improving public schools.

“Just like he did in his first term, Tom Barrett has failed working families again. It just shows whose priorities he’s really representing in Lansing,” said Ron Bieber President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Working men and women want a fair return on their work and excellent schools with qualified teachers to send their children to. Instead Tom Barrett has cast his votes to put corporate profits over working people.”

Bieber Statement Blasting Republican Vote on Ballot Initiatives

Lansing- Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO released the following statement in reaction to the state legislature passing citizens initiatives regarding paid sick leave and minimum wage rather than allowing the measures to go to the ballot.

“Lansing Republicans have repeatedly refused to address the issues of minimum wage and paid sick time. Now these same Republicans are publicly conspiring to stick a knife in the heart of these proposals with an unconstitutional ‘adopt and amend’ strategy. If their intent was good, I would applaud today’s actions. But Republican leadership has openly discussed their desire to gut the substance of these voter initiatives in lame duck to please corporate special interests. What these Republicans are doing is disrespectful to the citizens who signed petitions and to the working families who stand to benefit from these changes. The voters should reject these rotten tactics. We need legislators who want working people to succeed, not legislators who are manipulating the rules to benefit corporations and the wealthiest one percent.”

Michigan AFL-CIO Endorsements for State Education, University Boards

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO has endorsed the following candidates in races for the State Board of Education, Michigan State University Board of Trustees, University of Michigan Board of Regents and Wayne State University Board of Governors. The endorsements were voted on by the Michigan AFL-CIO’s Executive Council.

“One of the biggest concerns on the minds of working families across Michigan is making sure their kids have access to a good education. Folks want their children to be able to get good paying jobs, whether that’s through skilled trades training programs or a college degree,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “We’re endorsing these individuals because they know the importance of putting the needs of students over the greed of for-profit charter schools and protecting the wellbeing of all students on campus. We know these individuals will value the hard work and experience of teachers, create pathways to skilled trades training and make college more affordable. We need policy makers at every level who make the concerns of working families their top priority.”

Endorsed Candidates for Michigan State Board of Education:

Judy Pritchett and Tiffany Tilley

Endorsed Candidates for Michigan State University Board of Trustees:

Brianna Scott and Kelly Tebay

Endorsed Candidates for Wayne State Board of Governors:

Anil Kumar and Bryan Barnhill

Endorsed Candidates for University of Michigan Board of Regents:

Paul Brown and Jordan Acker

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