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Press releases and statements from the Michigan AFL-CIO.

Union Backed Candidates Make Big Gains in Michigan

Union Backed Candidates Make Big Gains in Michigan
State’s Largest Labor Organization Declares
Clear Mandate For Pro-Labor Agenda

Lansing – The Michigan AFL-CIO today celebrated a significant increase in labor-endorsed candidates elected to office in Tuesday’s election, and declared a clear mandate for a pro-labor agenda in the coming legislative year.

Michigan AFL-CIO endorsed candidates swept all state-wide partisan races and upset incumbents at both the legislative and congressional levels. The wins include 207 labor-endorsed candidates, including 77 candidates who are union members or come from union households.

“The labor movement helped elect an unprecedented wave of union members and pro-worker allies across Michigan on Tuesday. Voters sent a clear message to Lansing and Washington, D.C. that they want legislators who will support working people,” said Ron BIEBER, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “With the clear mandate that labor secured in this election, it’s time we deliver pro-labor policies and clear results for working families. We’re excited to work with Gretchen Whitmer, Jocelyn Benson, Dana Nessel and the rest of those elected Tuesday to support our freedoms in the workplace and protect our ability to earn a fair return on our work.”

The Michigan AFL-CIO operated an aggressive campaign operation across Michigan that knocked on doors, made phone calls, talked to members at worksites, and mounted robust digital and mail programs. The effort knocked on over 250,000 doors, delivered over 6.5 million digital impressions, and sent over 1,750,000 pieces of mail.

“When union members show up to vote and to volunteer as boots on the ground during the campaign, it’s clear that we can elect legislators who will have our backs,” said Daryl NEWMAN, the Michigan AFL-CIO’s Secretary-Treasurer. “Tuesday should underscore to those who seek to divide and destroy us, that we’ll fight back with everything we have – and win. We look forward to working with our endorsed legislators on both sides of the partisan aisle to advance a pro-labor agenda for our members.”

Notable labor endorsed wins:

• Elected a pro-labor Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Supreme Court Justice, swept all eight endorsed State Board of Education and University Board seats, and re-elected a pro-labor US Senator

• Won a redistricting ballot proposal (Proposal 18-2) and a voting access ballot proposal (Proposal 18-3)

• Elected first Muslim woman to Congress, picked up two targeted Congressional seats, and elected two other former union members to Congress

• Picked up 6 pro-labor seats in the State House, and 5 pro-labor seats in the State Senate

• Elected three statewide candidates with union affiliation

• Elected 27 union members to the state legislature

• Elected 11 union members to local school boards

• Elected 26 union members to local office, and 2 union members to local judgeships

The Michigan AFL-CIO, Michigan’s largest labor organization, is a federation representing forty different labor organizations, eighteen different central labor councils, and eight constituency groups representing over 1 million union members and their families.

Senator O’Brien, Representative Iden Get Failing Grades on Labor Scorecard

Kalamazoo-area lawmakers frequently vote against working families

LANSING – State Representative Brandt Iden (R – Oshtemo Township) received a score of just 13% percent in a new legislative scorecard released yesterday by the Michigan AFL-CIO. State Senator Margaret O’Brien (R -Portage) faired only slightly better with a 50% score. The state labor federation analyzed the voting records of all State Representatives on 8 key votes and all State Senators on 6 votes during the 2017-18 legislative session. A copy of the scorecard is available online.

“The working families of Kalamazoo County deserve better than a 50/50 chance of whether Margaret O’Brien is going to have their backs or not,” said Jonathan Byrd, President of the South Central Michigan Area Labor Council. “Whether it’s jeopardizing the education of our students by letting non-certified teachers into the classroom or to slash the paychecks of working families by voting to repeal prevailing wage, Margaret O’Brien has let our community down.”

O’Brien and Iden both voted to repeal prevailing wage which will cut paychecks across the state and open critical infrastructure projects to low-skilled workers. Both lawmakers also voted in support HB 5141 which allows uncertified teachers to teach certain career and technology programs. Additionally, Iden voted for SB 574 which allowed for-profit charter and cyber schools to receive funding from local millages meant for improving public schools.

“Brandt Iden turned his back on the hardworking men and women in the skilled trades when he voted to cut their paychecks and repeal prevailing wage,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “At a time when working families need someone fighting for them to create on economy that works for everyone, Brandt Iden has instead worked to manipulate the rules to benefit wealth corporate interests.”

Rep. Tom Barrett Receives Another Failing Grade on Labor Scorecard

 Republican Senate hopeful voted against working people on 7 out of 8 key bills

LANSING – State Representative Tom Barrett (R-Potterville) received a score of just 13% percent in a new legislative scorecard released yesterday by the Michigan AFL-CIO. The state labor federation analyzed the voting records of all State Representatives on 8 key votes during the 2017-18 legislative session. A copy of the scorecard is available online.

“Tom Barrett voted to slash the pay of working families when he voted to repeal prevailing wage. The studies show repealing prevailing wage won’t save the state a dime, but instead takes money out of the paychecks of working men and women and instead lines the pockets of corporate CEOs,” said Paul Hufnagel, President of the Greater Lansing Labor Council. “Barrett has shown that when working families need him most, he’s going to turn his back on them and side with corporate special interests instead.”

Barrett voted against the interests of Michigan’s working families on key issues such as the vote to repeal prevailing wage which will cut paychecks across the state and open critical infrastructure projects to low-skilled workers. Barrett also voted for HB 5141 which allows uncertified teachers into the classroom and for SB 574 which allows for-profit charter and cyber schools to receive money from local millages meant for improving public schools.

“Just like he did in his first term, Tom Barrett has failed working families again. It just shows whose priorities he’s really representing in Lansing,” said Ron Bieber President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Working men and women want a fair return on their work and excellent schools with qualified teachers to send their children to. Instead Tom Barrett has cast his votes to put corporate profits over working people.”

Bieber Statement Blasting Republican Vote on Ballot Initiatives

Lansing- Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO released the following statement in reaction to the state legislature passing citizens initiatives regarding paid sick leave and minimum wage rather than allowing the measures to go to the ballot.

“Lansing Republicans have repeatedly refused to address the issues of minimum wage and paid sick time. Now these same Republicans are publicly conspiring to stick a knife in the heart of these proposals with an unconstitutional ‘adopt and amend’ strategy. If their intent was good, I would applaud today’s actions. But Republican leadership has openly discussed their desire to gut the substance of these voter initiatives in lame duck to please corporate special interests. What these Republicans are doing is disrespectful to the citizens who signed petitions and to the working families who stand to benefit from these changes. The voters should reject these rotten tactics. We need legislators who want working people to succeed, not legislators who are manipulating the rules to benefit corporations and the wealthiest one percent.”

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