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Bieber, Newman re-elected to top spots at Michigan AFL-CIO

May 24, 2019

LANSING – The Michigan AFL-CIO held its constitutional convention this month in Detroit. The event was attended by more than 200 delegates, guests and vendors. The event included speeches from national AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Michigan Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The convention elected members to its general board, executive council as well as electing Ron Bierber to a second term as president and Daryl Newman to a third term as secretary-treasurer.

“When I was elected four years ago, I set three main goals: strengthen and grow the Labor Movement, fight for legislation that supports working families, and hold politicians accountable,” said Bieber. “Today we have more people represented by unions than when the so-called ‘right-to-work’ law was passed, we held our ground against needless attacks during the recent lame duck session, and we elected a more labor-friendly legislature and executive branch. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with this unified and focused Labor Movement.”

The central theme for the convention was “Icons of Labor” focusing on the lessons of the past while building a 21st Century Labor Movement. In addition to recognizing the legislative accomplishments of Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield), Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) and Detroit City Councilmember Janeé Ayers, the organization awarded a lifetime achievement award to former Congressman Sandy Levin. The labor federation also celebrated the life and work of the late Congressman John Dingell. A new lifetime achievement award named for the congressman was unveiled. Judge Christopher Dingell accepted the posthumous award on behalf of his father. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, unable to attend due to Congress being in session, sent a video message expressing her appreciation.

“I appreciate the trust my brothers and sisters have placed in me. Sound stewardship is critical to our ability to build the Labor Movement,” said Newman. “The working men and women of this state deserve to have people fighting to protect their families and their freedoms. I look forward to  continuing that fight for another term.”

The Michigan AFL-CIO is the state’s largest labor federation, representing over a million active and retired members from nearly 50 unions and constituency groups.

Michigan AFL-CIO Applauds Whitmer Letter on Overtime Rules

May 20, 2019

Lansing – Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO, released the following statement in support of Governor Whitmer’s letter opposing proposed changes to overtime eligibility made by the Trump Administration.

“We appreciate Governor Whitmer speaking out on behalf of the working people of Michigan and the rest of the country. The overtime pay eligibility rules proposed by the Trump Administration are a drastic reduction from what was initially proposed by the Obama Administration. When people are away from their families working longer hours, they should be fairly compensated. The rules proposed by the current administration in Washington leaves out too many people and hurts working families who are just trying to make ends meet.”

Michigan AFL-CIO Announces Legislators of the Year at Convention

May 16, 2019

Detroit – Today the Michigan AFL-CIO named Sen. Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and Rep. Kevin Hertel (D-St. Clair Shores) as its Legislators of the Year for 2019. Detroit City Councilmember Janeé Ayers was also named Local Elected Official of the Year. The awards were announced at the state labor federation’s constitutional convention at IBEW Local 58 in Detroit.

“Elected officials who use their time in office to support the working men and women of this state deserve to be recognized for those efforts,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “We have a lot more pro-working family members in the legislature and we’re looking forward to the work they do to support our freedoms. These lawmakers stood out because of their leadership on critical issues facing workers.”

State Representative Kevin Hertel played a key role in the passage of a bipartisan package that addressed critical failures in the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency following the robo-fraud scandal that falsely accused 40,000 of committing fraud. Hertel continues to work to create a compensation fund for those wrongly accused and other continued reforms.

“I ran for office in order to represent working men and women,” said Kevin Hertel. “I was proud to work closely with the Michigan AFL-CIO when we passed a package of bipartisan bills to address unfairness in the Unemployment Agency, but we still have a lot of work to do. I look forward to continuing to work with them to make sure everyone is getting a fair shake.”

State Senator Jeremy Moss has led a bipartisan effort to expand accountability and transparency in state government. He has also been a strong advocate for expanding workplace protections to all working people, including members of the LGBTQ community.

“My family’s story is one of the many in Michigan that show why unions matter. My grandfather was able to lift his young family into Michigan’s middle class because his trade union made sure he earned a living wage that he deserved for the skilled work he completed. Union protections have afforded the grandson of a typesetter opportunities to succeed way beyond his grandfather’s hopes and dreams,” said Sen. Jeremy Moss. “I appreciate the continued support of the Michigan AFL-CIO  in our joint mission to create a more fair, more honest system of government that seeks to protect Michigan families, their wages and their workplace standards.”

Detroit Councilmember Janeé Ayers is a former labor leader having been a member of AFSCME, UNITE HERE and former Vice President of the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO. As a local elected official, she has been working to protect the freedoms of working families in Detroit.

New Report Names Michigan 22nd Most Dangerous Place for Workers

According to a new report released today by the AFL-CIO, Michigan had the 22nd highest rate of workplace deaths in 2017. This analysis, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that 153 Michigan workers lost their lives due to on-the-job injuries, resulting in 3.4 deaths per hundred thousand workers.  View Report here: https://aflcio.org/dotj

Nationally, workplace violence is now the second-leading cause of workplace death, accounting for 807 workplace deaths, including 458 homicides. For the 3rd year in a row, workplace violence injuries increased, with nearly 29,000 workers suffering serious violence-related injuries due to assault on the job. Yet, even as violence increases in the workplace, the Trump administration has sidelined developing and issuing an OSHA workplace violence standard.

“This report is a solemn reminder of the dangers facing working people as we prepare to commemorate Workers Memorial Day on April 28th,” said Ron Bieber, President of the Michigan AFL-CIO. “Michigan’s working families deserve better. We have a right to a safe workplace. We deserve leaders in Lansing and Washington who will stand up and protect the freedoms of working people. It’s time for change. It’s time for the safety, economic rights and dignity of the working men and women of Michigan to be made a priority.”

Nationally, 5,147 American workers died on the job in 2017, a small decrease from  deaths the previous year. Another estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases, meaning approximately 275 workers died each day from preventable, hazardous workplace conditions. Overall, the national job fatality rate was 3.5 per 100,000, workers down slightly from 3.6 in 2016.

The report, titled “Death on the Job. The Toll of Neglect” marks the 28th year the AFL-CIO has produced its findings on the state of safety and health protections for workers within the United States. The report shows the highest workplace fatality rates are in Alaska (10.2 per 100,000 workers), North Dakota (10.1), Wyoming (7.7), West Virginia (7.4) and South Dakota (7.3).

Other report highlights show that Latino workers continue to be at increased risk of job death, and that the number of Latino worker deaths increased in 2017 to 903 from 879. Deaths among older workers also increased; workers 65 or older have nearly three times the risk of dying on the job as workers overall. Construction, transportation and agriculture industries remain among the most dangerous. In 2017, 917  construction workers were killed—the highest total of any sector. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting was the most dangerous industry sector, with a fatality rate of 23.0 per 100,000 workers.

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