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February 2014: Legislative Update

Income Inequality Stalls Economic Recovery

Economic recovery is helping those at the top, while the bottom 90% continue to fall—and it’s not a coincidence. Policy makers in Lansing contribute to a state and national problem of stagnated or reduced economic power for working families, while the top 10% see increased wealth.

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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.


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

Bankruptcy Eligibility Reaction from the Michigan State AFL-CIO and the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO

Working people across Michigan are appalled by today’s ruling in the Detroit bankruptcy case.  Taking from retirees who already make do with very little will not fix the city and sets a dangerous precedent for our entire state.

While we are pleased the judge did not rule the city bargained in good faith, we disagree it was impossible for the city to bargain with its creditors.

Make no mistake about it, this ruling sends a clear signal that if you work hard and earn a fair pension, a governor with a radical, right-wing, political agenda can use the federal bankruptcy court as a tool to rob you of everything you earned.

It’s not just happening in Detroit. Snyder and Wall Street are going after workers, retirees and the middle class all over Michigan.  Governor Snyder proved time and again that he cares more about helping wealthy corporations than building an economy that works for everyone.

After giving billions in additional tax breaks to corporations, many of whom were his top campaign contributors, Snyder cut earned income tax credits and instituted a new statewide tax on pensions.  Now he and his politically-appointed bankruptcy experts are putting Wall Street before Woodward Avenue as they restructure Detroit.

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