Press Room

Press releases and statements from the Michigan AFL-CIO.

Michigan Unions Blast Billie Jo O’Berry for Fabricating Labor Endorsements

O’Berry website falsely claims endorsements from unions that are supporting Carol Siemon for Ingham County Prosecutor

LANSING – Today the Michigan AFL-CIO blasted Billie Jo O’Berry, the Republican candidate for Ingham County Prosecutor, for fabricating endorsements from labor unions.

The “Endorsers” page on O’Berry’s campaign website currently lists the following unions under a heading that says “Rated ‘Strongly Supportive of Working Families’”: Building Trades, Michigan AFL-CIO, Michigan AFL-CIO HRDI, UAW-GM CHR, IBEW 275, IBEW 1106, UAW 19, UAW 724, UAW 4911.

None of these labor organizations have endorsed O’Berry. However, the Capital Area UAW CAP Council and the Greater Lansing Labor Council have both endorsed Carol Siemon for Ingham County Prosecutor.

“Billie Jo O’Berry isn’t telling the truth, plain and simple,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “The truth is, none of these unions have endorsed her, and many of them are actually supporting Carol Siemon.

“Labor unions have a very thorough endorsement process that often includes a written questionnaire or candidate screening. The purpose is to hold candidates accountable, and help elect people who are committed to protecting working families. After reviewing the candidates in the race for Ingham County Prosecutor, these unions either chose not to make an endorsement, or they chose to endorse Carol Siemon.

“Now more than ever, working people here in Ingham County are committed to electing a prosecutor who has honesty and integrity. Fabricating labor endorsements to mislead union members is no way to win an election. This kind of behavior is downright shameful, and has no place in the Prosecutor’s office. O’Berry needs to apologize to this community’s hardworking union members, and fix her website immediately.”

A screenshot of O’Berry’s website with the fabricated union endorsements can be viewed here.

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Michigan AFL-CIO Blasts Walberg Bill to Delay New Overtime Pay Protections

Labor federation launches online petition urging Congress to reject Walberg bill

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO launched an online petition today opposing legislation sponsored by Congressman Tim Walberg (R-Tipton). Walberg’s bill, H.R. 6094, would delay implementation of the Labor Department’s new overtime rule by six months. The regulation, which is scheduled to take effect in December, will expand overtime pay protections to 100,000 Michigan workers. A vote on Walberg’s bill is expected to take place in the House this week.

“Tim Walberg ought to be ashamed of himself,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “His bill robs working people, plain and simple. Delaying this much-needed new overtime rule means 100,000 working people in Michigan won’t have the chance to earn more pay, or spend more time with their families. That’s just wrong, and that’s why we’re calling on every member of Congress to oppose Walberg’s bill to shortchange American workers.”

For approximately 12.5 million American workers, this new regulation is the most effective way to raise wages, create jobs, and restore the 40-hour work week.

When the new regulation takes effect in December, the salary threshold below which salaried employees are automatically eligible for overtime pay will rise from $23,660 ($455 per week) to $47,476 ($913 per week). This threshold has only been updated once since the 1970s.

The Michigan AFL-CIO’s petition urging members of Congress to vote no on Walberg’s bill can be found at

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Steve Marino’s Plan to Raise Retirement Age Would Cut Social Security Benefits, Hurt Seniors

LANSING – Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO, issued the following statement today on newly-released recordings where Lansing lobbyist Steve Marino calls for raising the Social Security retirement age to 75. You can hear the recordings here.

“Steve Marino would be an absolute disaster for Macomb County seniors,” said Bieber. “Raising the Social Security retirement age to 75 would be a deep and painful benefit cut to retirees who are already struggling to pay Rick Snyder’s Retirement Tax. If we’ve learned anything about Steve Marino over the past few weeks, it’s that he’s a high-flying corporate lobbyist who likes to play fast and loose with the law, and it’s painfully clear that he doesn’t give a rip about working people. He’s out of touch, and he sure doesn’t belong anywhere near the Michigan House of Representatives.”

In the new audio recordings, Marino says:

– “Right now the life expectancy for a female is 81, 79-and-a-half for a male. I mean, make it [retirement age] 70, 75. That way people aren’t building it into their retirement plan.”

– “It [Social Security] was never meant to be built into your retirement plan.  It was supposed to be there when your retirement plan failed.”

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The debate hall is seen empty prior to the final Presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney on the campus of Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida on October 22, 2012. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

Michigan AFL-CIO Statement on the First Presidential Debate

LANSING – Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO, issued the following statement tonight on the first presidential debate at Hofstra University:

“Tonight Hillary Clinton proved that she has the right experience and steadiness to bring people together and lead our nation’s economy starting on day one. During tonight’s debate, Hillary put forward a clear plan to build an economy that works for everyone, and not just those at the top, with good-paying jobs for Michigan’s working families.

“By pushing an agenda that helps billionaires like himself get ahead at the expense of working families, Donald Trump showed that he is only in this race for himself. Tonight Trump reminded us once again that he is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to be our next president.

“The choice Michigan voters face couldn’t be clearer. We can either choose a leader who will bring people together to tackle the big challenges facing our country, or we can let Donald Trump keep tearing us apart with his dangerous ideas.”

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