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Breaking news, legislative updates and the facts.

Fast Food Strikes Statement from President Swift

The Michigan State AFL-CIO stands in solidarity with the thousands of low-wage workers who are on strike in Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Pontiac and across the nation today. Every worker deserves the right to a living wage and a voice on the job. Our elected representatives must enact federal and state minimum wage standards that reflect the values of this country. People who  work every day should be able to support themselves and their families.

Over the past decade, worker productivity has continued to grow but wages have remained stagnant and even declined. If minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be around $21 per hour. Raising the minimum wage will ultimately increase the standard of living for all working people and ensure that every family is able to rise out of poverty.

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Media Contact: Sara Wallenfang

Michigan AFL-CIO Congratulates Local Recipients of AFL-CIO “Dreams of Jobs and Freedom” Scholarship


Scholarship Honors the Legacy of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington

(Freemont, MI) – Today the Michigan AFL-CIO congratulated a local winner of the AFL-CIO “Dreams of Jobs and Freedom” Scholarship.  Anna Zeerip received a one-time $5,000 award for the academic year beginning in fall 2013 through summer 2014.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech, the AFL-CIO is offering scholarships to help graduating high school seniors realize their dreams of a college education.  Zeerip is one of 60 recipients around the country from union households and community groups to receive the scholarship.

These scholarships will further educational dreams for many, but the scholarship will also continue the legacy of the March on Washington.  “Dreams of Jobs and Freedom” scholarship recipients will also be acknowledged at the upcoming AFL-CIO convention in Los Angeles this September.

The Michigan AFL-CIO congratulates Anna Zeerip on receiving the “Dreams of Jobs and Freedom” scholarship and wishes her success in future endeavors.

For more information on the Dreams for Jobs and Freedom Scholarship visit: http://www.aflcio.org/About/Member-Benefits/Scholarships/2013-Dreams-of-Jobs-and-Freedom-Scholarship


Media Contact: Sara Wallenfang

Medicaid Expansion Statement from President Swift

Michigan State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift on the Passage of Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid expansion is a victory for over 400,000 of Michigan’s most vulnerable families, but the way in which it was passed was plagued with political gamesmanship and months of delays. Today’s vote made it clear that the Tea Party controls some Lansing politicians. While they were busy playing games and negotiating back room deals, the lives of children, veterans, and the working poor were on the line. We urge our representatives in the House to pass the revised bill as soon as possible.  Every second counts in the lives of Michigan’s most vulnerable citizens.


Media Contact: Elizabeth Battiste

(248)404-7846, ebattiste@miaflcio.org

At the Capitol: Nurses Are Watching

This is a featured guest post by Ashley E. Forsberg, a registered nurse from Delta Township and Michigan Nurses Association Member. 

Ashley E. Forsberg, RN, has fought for Medicaid expansion on behalf of her patients as part of the Michigan Nurses Association.

Ashley E. Forsberg, RN, has fought for Medicaid expansion on behalf of her patients as part of the Michigan Nurses Association.

I’ve been sitting in the Senate gallery with other nurses, anxiously waiting for our legislators to return from a caucus to vote on Medicaid expansion – HB 4714, a bill that will provide health care coverage to 470,000 Michigan residents. It seems pretty simple.

Sen. Rebekah Warren (D-Ann Arbor) introduced us, members of the Michigan Nurses Association, from the floor as legislators applauded the “red shirts” in the gallery. She’s one of the legislators who understands the issues of nurses and working people.

But I question if most of our elected officials actually are in touch with the citizens of this great state or at least the citizens I see on a daily basis in my hospital for care.  The passage of Medicaid expansion means that some of my patients will be able to afford their diabetic medications and monthly foot care. Which then means my patient saves their limbs from amputation, which ultimately extends and improves their quality of life. To my hospital it means they actually receive compensation for the care I help to provide, rather than writing off the care provided as unpaid and further depressing our state and city’s economy.

I know that we ALL as middle class Americans and citizens of this state have only seen our burdens and expenses increase while our paychecks have remained static.   This portion of the Affordable Care Act implementation will benefit 470,000 people who otherwise couldn’t afford insurance.  And the federal government will pay for it.

I am frustrated that some of our leaders just don’t get it!  I have been in the gallery all day … waiting.  Watching the Republican Senators call for caucus after caucus trying to sway their members on how to vote on such an important bill that means simply … HOPE.  Hope for a successful new beginning of healthcare.  Hope for affordable insurance … for everyone, especially people who work hard day after day and simply don’t make enough money.

An alternative plan, SB 422 by Sen. Caswell was voted down earlier in what seemed a surprise after two hours of caucus. Then the Republican Senators went into caucus again … for another two hours.  This time again they had an undesired outcome: HB 4714 went down, one vote short of passing. Sen. Colbeck, who sponsored another bad alternative, refused to vote – thereby preventing Lt. Gov. Calley from casting the tie-breaking “yes” vote. Now they are in recess again.

I’m sorry, but didn’t you have enough time off fishing to make the BEST decision for MI now???!!!  The citizens of this state need this…. most can’t afford even a fishing license least of all insurance that you, our legislators, have!

Hopefully by the end of the night, the Senate will have found a way to do the right thing for their constituents. Although it’s been frustrating to watch this whole process – from June, when the House voted, to now – it only makes it more clear to me that everyone needs to be engaged in our government.  We have to hold these leaders accountable – they work for us!

We have to keep an eye on our legislators, educate them and make sure they KNOW we’re watching – just as the “red shirts” were today.

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