Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates

Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization established in 2019. Our mission is to unite labor leaders, policy makers, and the general public to educate and advocate around policies, programs and projects that can bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to communities across Michigan.

Michigan is experiencing unprecedented levels of income inequality.

Wages are stagnating and costs are rising. Some 43 percent of households struggle to afford the basic necessities like food, housing, child care, technology, health care, and transportation per the most recent United Way ALICE Report – a study on the financial hardship in the state.

No one knows these problems better than Michigan’s local elected officials. They’re on the front lines of some of Michigan’s biggest problems – like poverty, homelessness, our crumbling infrastructure, and unemployment. These problems are rooted in an economic playbook designed to maximize corporate profits and further widen the wealth inequality. In the era of Right to Work and state preemption of local labor standards, it is clear that Michigan workers are suffering.

We believe Michigan can do better.

Studies have proven that the best way to lift Michigan’s residents out of poverty is by strengthening and growing unions. Unions provide workers with the tools to secure a living wage, better healthcare benefits, and access to economic mobility. As a state federation representing over one million union members and their families across Michigan, the Michigan AFL-CIO is committed to expanding the power and utility of unions in municipalities across our state.

That’s why the Michigan labor movement has created Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates, our public advocacy organization.

This year, Advocates will:

  1. Further grow our Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus, a body focused on developing and implementing policy proposals which will effectuate our mission in local governments across our state.
  2. Publish a Municipal Solidarity Index that evaluates municipalities on their legislative and administrative efforts to support organized labor and working families.
  3. Hold quarterly legislative mixers to foster the relationships, ideas, and energy necessary to drive our mission collaboratively between local electeds and state lawmakers.

Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates relies on local elected leaders to advocate for workers’ rights in their communities. These leaders are key in the fight to change communities across Michigan, and often are the pro-labor candidates recruited for higher office.

Contact: Jasmine Kaltenbach, Executive Director
advocates@miaflcio.org
313-400-6513

Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus. 

Our state is full of hardworking elected officials and community activists. Serving in cities, villages, townships, and counties, these leaders have enormous impacts on Michiganders. Many serve as the lone voice of workers’ rights in their communities, and their works so often goes underappreciated by the residents of these communities.

Advocates’ Informational Packet and Membership Pin

Advocates’ Informational Packet and Membership Pin

The Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus strives to connect labor-friendly elected officials into one body, validate their important work, and increase cooperation between them. Members will collaborate on pro-worker policies, meet with like-minded elected officials, and network with labor leaders across the state.

By joining the Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus, you will have the chance to influence pro-worker policies. The Caucus can grow your understanding on how to help workers and union members in your communities by developing policies to support them. This is especially important in the context of a national recession and COVID-19.

All members receive an Advocates Membership Pin and free invitations to our quarterly mixers, where people have the opportunity to network and build the relationships needed to be effective, informed legislators.

Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates relies on local elected leaders to advocate for workers’ rights in their communities. You are key in the fight to change communities across Michigan. I encourage you and your colleagues to join Advocates so we can work in solidarity to support working people across Michigan.

Join other pro-labor elected officials and become a member of our labor caucus!

If you’d like to become a member and enjoy our membership benefits, including a membership pin and access to our quarterly legislative mixers (public health permitting), please join at one of the following levels:

$100 – Member
$250 – Advocate
$500 – Champion

All donations under these membership amounts are appreciated, but do not equate to membership. Click here to view our membership packet for more information.

Our state is full of hardworking elected officials and community activists.

Serving in cities, villages, townships, and counties, these leaders have enormous impacts on Michiganders. Many serve as the lone voice of workers’ rights in their communities, and their works so often goes underappreciated by the residents of these communities.

The Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus strives to connect labor-friendly elected officials into one body, validate their important work, and increase cooperation between them.

 Members will collaborate on pro-worker policies, meet with like-minded elected officials, and network with labor leaders across the state.

By joining the Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus, you will have the chance to influence pro-worker policies.

The Caucus can grow your understanding on how to help workers and union members in your communities by developing policies to support them.

This is especially important in the context of a national recession and COVID-19.

All members receive an Advocates Membership Pin and free invitations to our quarterly mixers, where people have the opportunity to network and build the relationships needed to be effective, informed legislators.

Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates relies on local elected leaders to advocate for workers’ rights in their communities. You are key in the fight to change communities across Michigan. I encourage you and your colleagues to join Advocates so we can work in solidarity to support working people across Michigan.

Interested in learning more about Advocates? Fill out this interest form, download our informational packet, and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Advocates Lower Banner
Advocates’ Informational Packet and Membership Pin

Until now, no single organization has attempted to organize those officials and help them advocate for pro-labor policies in their communities. Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates aspires to do just that.

Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates will use its Policy Fellows to provide Michigan municipal leaders with two specific tools:

The Municipal Solidarity Toolkit directly provides elected officials with pro-labor policies, resolutions, and ordinances to be enacted in their cities; it will also include advice and proven talking points from cities and organizations across the state.

Our policies range from promoting labor access standards for city employees, to creating task forces to address workers’ issues, to ensuring that city resources go to help working families. They have been carefully crafted with input from folks within Michigan’s Labor Movement.

The Municipal Solidarity Index evaluates municipalities on their legislative and administrative efforts to support organized labor and working families.

Many municipalities in Michigan have already made great legislative progress, and their work should not go unnoticed. By systematically reviewing city code, the Municipal Solidarity Index will recognize the cities and elected officials that have made workers’ rights a top priority.

We hope to launch these free, public products in the Summer of 2021.

Our Leadership

The Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus is comprised of ambitious elected officials who are passionate about advancing the working people’s agenda at the local level.

Angela Rogensues Title: Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus Co-Chair

Angela Rogensues

MELC Co-Chair

Derek Dobies Title: Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus Co-Chair

Derek Dobies

MELC Co-Chair

Mykale “Kelly” Garret Title: Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus Co-Chair

Mykale “Kelly” Garret

MELC Vice-Chair

Steven Rzeppa Title: Michigan Electeds Labor Caucus Co-Chair

Steven Rzeppa

MELC Vice-Chair

Our Fellows and Associates

Michigan AFL-CIO Advocates has a team of hardworking college fellows and associates who work on policy, organizing, and communications teams.

Luke O’Malley

Summer Fellow

Connor Moore

Summer Fellow

Tim Marvin

Summer Fellow

Major Stevens

Summer Fellow

Marissa Hansen

Summer Fellow

Hannah Zonnevylle

Summer Fellow

Vivi Iyer

Summer Fellow

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