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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.

Statement from Michigan AFL-CIO President Karla Swift on the Resignation of State Treasurer Dillon

Whether serving in the Michigan Legislature or as State Treasurer, Andy Dillon never had the best interests of working families at heart. The fact that Gov. Snyder appointed him in the first place shows the administration’s commitment to serving corporate special interests.

The timing of this announcement raises questions. Why would Dillon step down now, just as Governor Snyder’s secretive NERD Fund is beginning to receive serious scrutiny? We respect the Dillon family’s need for privacy, but wonder why it wasn’t an issue months ago.

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Contact: Sara Wallenfang

269-290-2523; swallenfang@aflcio.org

Western International High School Receives AFL-CIO Adopt-a-School Grant

Metro Detroit AFL-CIO  President Chris Michalakis, Western International High School Principal Rudolpho Diaz, and President of the American Federation of School Administrators Diann Woodard.

Metro Detroit AFL-CIO President Chris Michalakis, Western International High School Principal Rudolpho Diaz, and President of the American Federation of School Administrators Diann Woodard.

This morning the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO announced a $5,000 “Adopt-a-School” grant to be awarded to Western International High School.

The “Adopt-a-School” program is designed to support teaching staff and classrooms to help educate young people on the vital connection between workers’ rights and civil rights, as well as other initiatives that connect union workers to students.

The AFL-CIO Executive Council authorized the “Adopt-a-School” program in February to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  This grant program is funded by the AFL-CIO’s union affiliates.

“The labor movement has always worked to invest in our local community and this is just another opportunity to make a difference,” said Diann Woodard, President of the American Federation of School Administrators. “We’re extremely proud to present this award to Western International High School and look forward to working with them to ensure that all students have access to quality education and the resources they need to teach our next generation of leaders.”

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