Press Room

Press releases and statements from the Michigan AFL-CIO.

Michigan Unions Support Democratic Bills Protecting Consumers from Skyrocketing Drug Prices

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement supporting legislation introduced by Democrats in the Michigan House and Senate today to protect consumers from excessive prescription drug prices:

“All working families should have access to life-saving prescription drugs,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “But for far too long, the big drug companies have used their money and influence to advance health care policies that pad their own pocketbooks at our expense. These bills will give consumers a line of defense by forcing drug companies to be transparent in their pricing and holding them accountable when they’re profiteering off people who need these medications to survive. It’s time for our lawmakers to stand up to the drug lobby, and work to stop outrageous prescription drug price increases. Republicans in Lansing need to do the right thing and work with Democrats to pass these bills.”

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State Must Fully Repay Unemployed Workers Falsely Accused of Fraud

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today commenting on news that the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency is in the process of refunding $20.8 million to people who were falsely accused of unemployment fraud.

“It’s time to make this right,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “What happened to these people is absolutely tragic. Lives were literally ruined by the Snyder administration’s mistake. While this refund is a good step in the right direction, it’s just not enough to repair the damage. The state has an obligation to repay every single penny they stole from these workers, and they should repay them with interest.

“Rep. Kevin Hertel and Rep. Joseph Graves deserve credit for their tenacious work on this issue. We are grateful for their leadership, and hope the legislature will take swift action this fall to make these workers whole.”

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Reckless Pension Proposal Busts the Budget, Hurts Students, Parents, Teachers

Republicans rigging the system to favor corporate donors over hardworking school employees

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO issued the following statement today on legislation approved in the Michigan Senate that will gut retirement savings for Michigan’s hardworking teachers and school employees.

“Cutting retirement savings for new teachers and school employees isn’t just mean, it’s dumb, and it’s downright reckless,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Instead of improving our schools, this proposal will blow a massive hole in the state budget that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars for decades to come. It will make it even harder to attract the best and the brightest people to careers in public education, which will make our teacher shortage even worse. That’s bad news for Michigan students and parents, because the key to a good job is a good education.

“Let’s be clear about what’s really going on here. This is just another example of how wealthy corporate donors like the DeVos family are using their money and influence to rig the economy against regular working people. Billionaires like the DeVos family would rather take pensions away from teachers, librarians, and bus drivers than pay their fair share to improve our schools. If these bills reach his desk, Governor Snyder should grow a backbone and veto them.”

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New Report: Legislation That Destroys Teacher Pensions Will Cost Michigan Taxpayers $46 Billion

LANSING – A bill that would destroy pensions for newly-hired Michigan teachers and school employees will cost Michigan taxpayers up to $46 BILLION, according to a new report from the nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency.

House Bill 4647, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Albert, R-Belding, would increase costs related to providing retirement benefits by a minimum of $410 million in the first year alone.

“This bill just went from dumb to dumber,” said Ron Bieber, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “You look at a number like $46 billion and your eyes pop out of your head. That’s $46 billion of taxpayer money that we should be using to finally fix the roads, which are literally falling apart before our eyes. And the worst part is, we’ll be leaving thousands of Michigan teachers, bus drivers, and librarians without access to the most efficient and secure method of saving for retirement. The legislature ought to toss this bill right in the trash and start working together on a real plan to fix the roads instead.”

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