FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Saturday, February 11, 2023
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Resolution to Restore Worker Freedom Adopted at MDP Spring Convention
DETROIT, MI – At today’s 2023 Spring Convention, the Michigan Democratic Party officially adopted a “Resolution to Restore Worker Freedom and Collective Bargaining Rights to Michigan’s Workers.”
“The Michigan AFL-CIO applauds the Michigan Democratic Party for affirming its commitment to restoring worker freedom in Michigan,” said Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron BIEBER. “The rights of working people have been under attack for decades at the hands of politicians bought and paid for by Betsy DeVos and the megarich. Now, the Democratic trifecta in Lansing is working to undo the Engler and Snyder administrations’ policies that have devastated unions, robbed retirees, and stripped teachers, first responders, and public employees of their collective bargaining rights. With this commitment to bold action from the Michigan Democratic Party, the future for Michigan’s working people is bright.”
The “Resolution to Restore Worker Freedom and Collective Bargaining Rights to Michigan’s Workers” acknowledges the harm caused by anti-worker policies like “Right to Work”, the repeal of prevailing wage, and the Devos-backed tax on retiree pensions signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder. The resolution affirms support for repealing these policies and commits support for policies that restore workers’ freedom to negotiate contracts and bargain collectively.
The Michigan AFL-CIO, Michigan’s largest labor organization, is a federation representing forty different labor organizations, eighteen different central labor councils, and eight constituency groups representing over 1 million union members and their families.
The full text of the resolution reads:
Resolution to Restore Worker Freedom and Collective Bargaining Rights to Michigan’s Workers
WHEREAS, unions increase wages, benefits, safety, and protections for all workers, but especially women, people of color, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community in areas where our non-discrimination laws continue to fall short; and
WHEREAS, in 1961, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated that the purpose of “false slogans such as ‘Right to Work” is to “destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining by which unions have improved wages and working conditions of everyone;” and
WHEREAS, in 2012, the Michigan Legislature enacted anti-worker, anti-union “Right to Work” without holding a single public hearing and with the aim of crippling the ability of unions to fairly represent all members of a collective bargaining unit; and
WHEREAS, dozens of other anti-worker laws passed during the Engler and Snyder administrations have made it even harder for working people to make a living and be safe at work, including the repeal of prevailing wage and the institution of a retirement tax on the elderly with fixed incomes,
WHEREAS, the Snyder administration’s systematic erosion of collective bargaining rights for teachers, first responders, and public-sector employees has made it even more challenging for governments to attract and retain new talent and for workers to provide for their families; and
WHEREAS, there has been no evidence in the past decade that the enactment of these laws has improved wages or working conditions for Michigan workers; and
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, has made paramount the failings of workplace safety standards and inadequate protections for workers on the job, and the importance placed on public health and workplace safety; and
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that this body affirms its support for workers and their right to organize and, in expressing those values, urges the legislature to Restore Worker Freedom; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party joins with millions of Michigan workers and urges the Michigan Legislature to immediately repeal PA 348 of 2012 and PA 349 of 2012;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party urges the Michigan Legislature to support the pay, health, and safety of Michigan workers by reinstating Prevailing Wage requirements;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the rights of working people to use their voice to advocate in their workplace and through the political process by repealing laws such as PA 53 of 2012 and PA 269 of 2015 and removing excessive penalties for striking and end the prohibition on Unfair Labor Practices strikes;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the immediate repeal of the Pension Tax, which unfairly balances the state budget by taxing fixed-income retirees;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party supports the rights of working people to collectively bargain and their freedom to negotiate contracts by repealing laws such as PA 105 of 2015, PA 98 of 2011, PA 238 of 2012, PA 54 of 2011 and PA 152 of 2011;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party urges the Michigan Legislature to allow for free and fair negotiations by restoring many topics that are currently prohibited subjects of collecting bargaining including, but not limited to, support staff privatization, and teacher discipline, seniority, evaluation, placement and merit pay and the ability of all Detroit Public School employees to negotiate for wage increases, and restore Just Cause standards to teacher tenure.