Press Room

Press releases and statements from the Michigan AFL-CIO.

New Data: Michigan Unions Added 52,000 Members in 2017

Percent of union members in Michigan workforce increased to 15.6 percent

LANSING – The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new data today that show labor unions in Michigan added 52,000 members last year, with membership increasing from 606,000 employees in 2016 to 658,000 in 2017. The percent of wage and salary workers in Michigan who were members of unions increased from 14.4 percent in 2016 to 15.6 percent in 2017.

“This is great news for Michigan’s working families and great news for our economy,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “We need the power in numbers of unions more than ever to protect things our families need, like affordable health care, good schools, and Social Security and Medicare. Now it’s time for our elected officials in Lansing and Washington to get the message, stop attacking working people, and start working together to protect the freedom of working people to negotiate together for a fair return on our work. That’s how we’ll build an economy in Michigan that works for everyone, not just the wealthy.”

Nationally, the number of union members rose by 260,000 in 2017. Other key trends include:

  • Young workers continue to drive union growth. Since 2012, union membership among workers under 35 has continued to rise. Last year, they made up three quarters of new members.
  • Professionals and information industry workers continue to drive growth, reflecting key organizing successes by the Communications Workers of America; the Writers Guild of America, East; the American Federation of Teachers; and the American Federation of Government Employees.
  • Recent victories are among workers across sectors ranging from media employees to charter school teachers and librarian professionals to the 20,000 doctors who joined unions in the last year.

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Schuette’s Use of Tax Dollars for Campaign Staff a Brazen Abuse of Public Trust

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today from President Ron Bieber on Bill Schuette’s use of public tax dollars to hire campaign staff:

“The fact that Bill Schuette has been stacking his office with political cronies using public funds leading up to his run for governor is as shady as it gets, and it’s high time he was called out for it. During his more than 30 years in office, Schuette has always been more interested in doing what’s best for his career and his corporate donors, but this is a brazen abuse of the public’s trust. Schuette should be using his office to protect working families, not trying to get a leg up on his political opponents. Michigan needs elected officials who will spend every day working to make Michigan a better, safer place to live, work and raise a family. Michigan deserves better than what Bill Schuette is doing.”

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Bipartisan Bills Will Protect Unemployed Workers

State must make things right for victims of false unemployment fraud

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement from President Ron Bieber on passage of legislation to reform and improve Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency:

“This is a big win for Michigan’s working families. These important bills will make much-needed changes to improve the UIA, and give a helping hand to working people who have lost a job through no fault of their own, so they can continue to support their families while they search for work and get back on their feet. I especially want to thank State Rep. Joe Graves, R-Argentine Twp, and Rep. Kevin Hertel, D-St. Clair Shores, for their hard work and bipartisan leadership on this important issue.

“These bills are by no means comprehensive, nor are they perfect. Indeed, there is still more work that must be done to make things right for people who were falsely accused of unemployment fraud by Governor Snyder’s administration, and maliciously challenged in court by Attorney General Bill Schuette. However, this bipartisan legislation will go a long way towards preventing another disaster like this from happening again.”

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OPEB Reforms Will Help Protect Health Care for Retired Police, Fire, Municipal Workers

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement from President Ron Bieber on passage of OPEB reform legislation, which is now headed to Governor Snyder’s desk:

“This legislation is an important step forward that will help protect health care for Michigan’s retired police officers, firefighters, and municipal employees like snow plow drivers, nurses, and librarians. The original drafts of these bills would have been absolutely terrible for our current and future retirees, but working people from all over the state came together and fought back by making thousands of phone calls, sending letters, and having one-on-one conversations with their state legislators. Thankfully, Lansing got the message. The legislature made important changes to improve these bills, and working people won a big victory. The message here is clear: there is power in numbers, and when working people stand together in union, we can protect our freedom to retire in dignity.”

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