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Repair America: BlueGreen Alliance Presents The 2014 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference

Click on the logo for more information about the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference.

Click on the logo for more information about the Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference.

The 2014 Good Jobs, Green Jobs Conference is taking place February 10-11 in Washington, D.C.  The conference is two days of networking with business, civic, non-profit, union and environmental leaders featuring informative and interactive workshops focused on every part of the clean economy.

Register now to secure your spot at this incredible event.

Now in its seventh year, the 2014 conference focus is on repairing the systems Americans rely on every day, whether getting us back and forth to work, supplying our power, keeping us safe from storms and floods, communicating with police and fire during emergencies, or ensuring the institutions where our children learn are safe and healthy. It’s time to repair these systems today to create quality, family-sustaining jobs, to address the threat of climate change, and to ensure the health and safety of our workplaces and our communities.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will be among the guest speakers.  So, join thousands of business and community leaders, union members, and environmentalists at Good Jobs, Green Jobs 2014 and take up the call to Repair America. Don’t wait.

February is right around the corner.  Register and make your travel plans today. 

One Year Later, Solidarity Thrives

Close up of protesters on December 11, 2012.

Close up of protesters on December 11, 2012.

Exactly one year ago today, Governor Snyder caved to corporate special interests and signed so-called Right to Work, a bill that he himself recognized as “divisive.”

Supporters pretend that so-called Right to Work is about freedom, but the freedoms that actually mean most to working people – like having free time to spend with family or the freedom to retire with dignity – are jeopardized by these policies.

We haven’t seen the job growth that was used as a pretext to pass this controversial legislation. In fact, unemployment is higher than it was a year ago and the governor cannot name one company moving to Michigan because of his actions.

The reality is that RTW was never about creating an economy that works for everyone.  This controversial law is designed to make it harder for workers to speak with one strong voice when negotiating with their employer.

Governor Snyder’s approval rating is very low, and everyday more voters recognize that he is serving corporate special interests.  This is perhaps clearest in Detroit, where the governor’s hand-selected bankruptcy team is doing the bidding of Wall Street investors at the expense of pensioners.

When Snyder closed the NERD Fund without disclosing information about the funds donors, it was the continuation of an agenda that doesn’t prioritize working families.  It matters who paid into the fund because severe conflicts of interest may have existed.  This secretive slush fund was used to upgrade the governor’s home, pay a six-figure salary to his closest advisor, as well as cover lavish housing and travel expenses for his politically-appointed Emergency Manager in Detroit.

The way that a new Court of Claims law was recently rushed through the legislature without much opportunity for public comment is also reminiscent of the anti-democratic way that RTW passed last year.  That power grab may, in part, be an attempt to have the Open Meetings Case challenging RTW heard in a more partisan venue favorable to the Snyder administration.  The first appointees to the Court of Claims are bipartisan, but that does not eliminate the possibility for future abuse.

The Michigan AFL-CIO is working with our affiliates to make sure that they have the support they need to talk to their members about so-called Right to Work and to organize around the pattern of secrecy and overreach established by Governor Snyder.

One positive thing that has come out of all of the attacks on working people – not just RTW but also public education cuts, undemocratic emergency managers, pension taxes, restrictions on women’s health care and others – is a unity that extends outside of the labor movement.

We are grateful to the tens of thousands of people who showed up at the capitol last year, and to all of those who continue to stand up and fight for working people.  One year longer is one year stronger.

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The crowd gathered on the capitol lawn, December 11, 2012.

Stronger Together

 

America’s hardworking people can build the country of our dreams. You can do something to help our nation value work again. Join the labor movement. Anyone can and all are welcome.

Because we’re all in this together.

Workers Act and the Government Reopens

This clever sign was spotted at the Marquette rally outside of Rep. Benishek's office.

This clever sign was spotted at the Marquette rally outside of Rep. Dan Benishek’s office.

Over the past week, working families rallied with local faith and community leaders in Detroit, Jackson, Grand Rapids, Commerce, Lansing and Marquette. The message in all six locations was clear: end the irresponsible GOP shutdown of the federal government immediately, without cutting a budget deal that harms seniors, children, the disabled or veterans.

“By recklessly shutting down our government the Republican leadership held the American people hostage,” said Greater Lansing Labor Council President Glenn Freeman. “Instead of solving problems and creating jobs for the people who elected them, Republicans decided to rob federal employees of their paychecks, deny the American taxpayers the services they paid for and throw our economy into chaos. The people of Michigan depend on government workers and the services they provide.”

“The programs used by those in need also affect services to our veterans as well as to active duty military personnel and their families − whether it be the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, Head Start, food stamps or many other programs,” said U.S. Air Force Veteran Chris Wagner in Marquette.

Yesterday Congress finally stopped playing games with the lives and livelihoods of the American people. With possible default on our debts looming, a proposal to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling through the beginning of next year passed the House of Representatives.

Worker outside of Rep. Walberg's office in Jackson.

Worker outside of Rep. Tim Walberg’s office in Jackson.

It should be noted that Michigan Representatives Justin Amash, Kerry Bentivolio, Bill Huizenga, Candice Miller, and Tim Walberg voted against the bill, showing a callous disregard for our national and local economies.  During the shutdown more than 800,000 federal workers faced furlough across the country. State Budget Director John Nixon estimated that the shutdown cost Michigan $18 million per day.

The Congressional temper tantrum appears to be over, for now, and government personnel are going back to work in the communities they serve.  But Michigan working families will continue to remain diligent so that cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare don’t become part of a so-called “grand bargain” during future budget negotiations.

The protests that took place this week were a jointly organized effort among the local AFL-CIO Labor Councils, AFGE, AFSCME Council 25, Michigan Citizen Action, MoveOn.org, and Organizing for Action.

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