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Breaking news, legislative updates and the facts.

Stop the Fast Track to Lower Wages

 

LANSING – Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift issued the following statement today in response to the introduction of Trade Promotion Authority legislation in Congress:

“Michigan workers know a bad trade deal when they see one. For decades, we’ve seen how corporate-driven trade deals like NAFTA have devastated our communities through lost jobs and lower wages. Last year alone, Michigan’s trade deficit was $66.8 billion. Michigan simply can’t afford another bad trade deal that ships more American jobs overseas to countries like China and Mexico.

“Trade deals have wide-ranging economic impacts and shouldn’t be negotiated behind closed doors and then rubber-stamped. The current Trans-Pacific Partnership deal under discussion would cover 40 percent of the world’s GDP. A deal this big should be debated in a full and open manner like every other piece of legislation.

“Michigan can’t afford another bad trade deal. That’s why Congress must reject Fast Track and maintain its constitutional authority and leverage to improve trade deals, and protect American workers.”

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Register now for Michigan AFL-CIO Community Services School

The Michigan State AFL-CIO Community Services School, co-sponsored by the Michigan Association of United Ways, will be held beginning on Monday, May 11 and conclude on Friday, May 15, 2014 at the Walter and May Reuther UAW Family Education Center, located in Onaway, MI.

This year’s program will feature the following classroom instruction as part of the overall agenda:

  • The United Way ALICE Project
  • Financial Stability
  • Diversity in the Workplace
  • Engaging a New Generation of Union Members
  • Basic & Advanced Community Services Committee Member Training

In addition there will be general Sessions focusing on

  • Family in the Workplace
  • Common Sense Economics
  • Keynote Speaker Charles Kernaghan

The registration fee of $495 covers lodging, meals and all classroom materials. To receive the early registration fee please register by April 10, 2015. Registrations received after April 10 are subject to an additional $50 late registration fee.

Here is a copy of the registration form:

Michigan AFL-CIO Community Services School

 

New Report: Michigan Has Nation’s Third Highest Unemployment Rate for African Americans

At 15.8 percent, Michigan trails only Wisconsin and Nevada

LANSING – At 15.8 percent, Michigan had the nation’s third highest unemployment rate for African Americans in 2014, according to a new analysis from Economic Policy Institute economist Valerie Wilson. In Projected Decline in Unemployment in 2015 Won’t Lift Blacks Out of the Recession-carved Crater, Wilson uses a unique analysis of Current Population Survey data and Local Area Unemployment Statistics program data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate state unemployment rates by race and ethnicity in over 30 states.

In 2014, the annual black unemployment rate was highest in Wisconsin (19.9 percent), followed by Nevada (16.1 percent), Michigan (15.8 percent), and the District of Columbia (15.7 percent), out of 30 states for which data was available. Though black unemployment significantly declined in 15 states and the employment-to-population ratio increased in six states, African Americans have returned to pre-recession unemployment rates in just two states—Connecticut and South Carolina.

“The unemployment rate for African Americans in Michigan is at a crisis level,” said Karla Swift, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Instead of giving tax breaks to big corporations that send jobs overseas, we need our elected officials to implement targeted policies to ensure that everyone in Michigan who is willing and able to work has a job.”

Michigan’s black unemployment rate is over twice as high as the highest state white unemployment rate—which is 7.0 percent in Nevada—and is significantly higher than the national black unemployment rate of 11 percent.

Despite projections that the black unemployment rate will drop significantly by the end of 2015, African Americans in Michigan are still further from a full recovery than whites or Hispanics.

A copy of the EPI report can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1CPDuyz

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Schuitmaker Bill Makes Workplaces Less Safe

Bill eliminates key safety protections following workplace injury, death

LANSING – Today the Michigan AFL-CIO strongly condemned new legislation introduced by Republican Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker (R-Lawton) this month that would eliminate key safety protections for employees who are injured or killed on the job.

Senate Bill 213 weakens the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act by eliminating an important provision that requires employers to notify MIOSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality, or any hospitalization of three or more employees suffering from a workplace-related accident, illness, or health hazard.

“This bill will make Michigan’s workplaces less safe, there’s no doubt about it,” said Karla Swift, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Sen. Schuitmaker’s bill would give employers a free pass when their workers are killed or hurt on the job. It means an employer would never have to report a workplace-related death to MIOSHA, making it virtually impossible to hold them accountable for negligence or unsafe working conditions. The Michigan AFL-CIO is strongly urging the Senate Commerce Committee to reject this dangerous legislation.”

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