Press Room

Press releases and statements from the Michigan AFL-CIO.

Michigan AFL-CIO to Host Three Gubernatorial Town Halls on Jobs and the Economy

Whitmer, El-Sayed, Thanedar, Cobbs to participate at forums in Warren, Detroit, Flint

LANSING – Today the Michigan AFL-CIO announced it will host a series of three town hall events on jobs and the economy featuring Gretchen Whitmer, Abdul El-Sayed, Shri Thanedar, and Bill Cobbs. The town hall series will begin on January 24, 2018 at UAW Region 1 in Warren, with future events planned in Detroit and Flint.

“Michigan’s working families need a governor who will have our backs,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Rick Snyder, Bill Schuette, and Brian Calley have spent the past seven years rigging the rules of our economy to favor their wealthy corporate donors while working families struggle to get by. It’s time for a change in Michigan. This November we need to elect a governor who will work to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy. That’s why we’re hosting these town halls, so working men and women can ask the candidates questions directly about the economic issues that matter most to Michigan’s working families.”

Each town hall will be moderated by Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber and Communications Director Zack Pohl, and last approximately 90 minutes. Candidates will answer audience questions from union officers and rank-and-file members on a number of key economic issues, including: manufacturing, trade, building vibrant communities, public education, skilled trades job training, and infrastructure.

These events are open to the press, and will be broadcast on Facebook Live by the Great Lakes Beacon. Here are the details for planning purposes:

January Town Hall in Warren: The first town hall will focus on trade and manufacturing issues, and take place at 2:30pm on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at UAW Region 1, 27800 George Merrelli Dr, Warren, MI. News outlets that wish to cover the event must RSVP. Please plan to arrive on-site at 2:00pm for setup. National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is scheduled to attend the town hall, and will participate in the press availability after the event.

February Town Hall in Detroit: The second town hall meeting will focus on building vibrant communities and improving public education. It will take place at 6:30pm on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at Wayne County Community College District, Downtown Campus, Frank Hayden Community Room, 1001 W. Fort Street, Detroit, MI.

March Town Hall Near Flint: The final town hall event will focus on infrastructure and skilled trades job training. It will take place in the Flint media market at 6:30PM on Wednesday, March 28, 2018. Location TBA.

TO REQUEST MEDIA CREDENTIALS: Please RSVP here to request media credentials for each event. There is limited seating for print and radio reporters.

MEDIA INFORMATION: There will be a mult box available for TV cameras and radio outlets at each town hall. Each event will be immediately followed by a press availability in an adjoining room with the candidates and union officers.

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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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