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Senate version of Michigan Republicans’ “Local Government Control Prohibition Act” drops, same as House version

Earlier this week, House Republicans held a hearing on H.B. 4052, a bill that would prohibit local governments from passing employment-related ordinances that are more restrictive than state-level laws. Although it is called the “Local Government Employer Mandate Prohibition Act”, it really should be referred to as the “Local Government Control Prohibition Act” because it strips what is commonly known as “home rule” from local governments.

The list of things covered by the current version of H.B. 4052 is pretty large. It would prohibit a local governmental body from adopting, enforcing, or administering an ordinance, local policy, or local resolution that:

  • Regulates the relationship between an employer and its employees or potential employees, if the regulation contains requirements exceeding those imposed by state or federal law.
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Republican push to repeal Michigan’s prevailing wage law just another power grab

Once again the Michigan Senate is moving to repeal the state’s “prevailing wage” law that has been in place for half a century, the law the Republicans once claimed would wreck the economy but which did the opposite, helping to sustain the once-growing middle class. They’re singing the same right wing anthem again, the one about saving the taxpayers money when what they are really seeking is increased profits for contractors by helping them depress workers’ wages. (It’s always worth noting that when the GOP talks about taxpayers and labor in the same sentence, they imply that those who labor are a group apart and not taxpayers too.…

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Michigan Republicans move to strip power of local governments to protect workers and the LGBT community

Republicans have successfully branded themselves as the party that worships “local governmental control”. They want federal regulations repealed and the power given to the states on all sorts of things from the environment to the Affordable Care Act. But, when it comes to actual local control, where local municipalities set their own rules, the whole idea of “local governmental control” is simply a quaint notion to be dispensed with posthaste to maintain their own control over our state.

Republicans in Michigan are sick and tired of local governments having the audacity to do things like pass local minimum wage requirements or giving the LGBTQ community actual civil rights protections.…

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This one chart shows why collective bargaining is so crucial for ALL Americans

Do you ever feel like you never seem to be able to get ahead? That you work your whole life but, at the end of the month, the end of the year, you aren’t any further ahead than you were last month or last year?

This one chart goes a long way toward explaining exactly why that is:

As the chart shows, since the attacks on unions began back in the 50s and 60s and union membership began to drop, the share of income enjoyed by the middle 60 percent of families began to drop as well. In fact, the two correlate frighteningly well.…

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Thousands of workers across the USA to rally for fair pay on Tax Day

Tomorrow is Tax Day and the group FightFor15.org is holding rallies across the country demanding a living wage for low-wage workers like those in the fast food industry. Here in Michigan, there will be a rally on the campus of the University of Michigan at noon to demand that U of M begin paying its employees and those who work in facilities that U of M leases to companies like Wendy’s $15/hr or better. They will be meeting at noon at the South Quad dining hall. The event will be no more than 45 minutes. For more information, visit the event Facebook page HERE.…

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President Obama smacks down Republican attempt to block new NLRB rule making it easier for workers to unionize

Last December, the National Labor Relations Board issued a new rule to “modernize and streamline the process” of forming a union.

The new rule:

  • Provides for electronic filing and transmission of election petitions and other documents;
  • Ensures that employees, employers and unions receive timely information they need to understand and participate in the representation case process;
  • Eliminates or reduces unnecessary litigation, duplication and delay;
  • Adopts best practices and uniform procedures across regions;
  • Requires that additional contact information (personal telephone numbers and email addresses) be included in voter lists, to the extent that information is available to the employer, in order to enhance a fair and free exchange of ideas by permitting other parties to the election to communicate with voters about the election using modern technology; and
  • Allows parties to consolidate all election-related appeals to the Board into a single appeals process.
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New study: Washtenaw County is a case study of the realities of income inequality in a “knowledge economy”

Conventional wisdom in the 21st Century says that the salvation of our economic future will come from the so-called “knowledge economy“, an economy based largely on technology and that sees education and knowledge as both a business product and a productive asset. In knowledge economies, the need for high-skill workers is amped up and these workers are, presumably, paid more because their skill sets are more desirable.

Few communities embody the concept of a knowledge economy as well as Washtenaw County in Michigan. Home of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County is also the home base for a wide array of technology-focused companies.…

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GUEST POST: After Philip Levine: Who Will Speak for Workers Now? And is Anyone Listening?

Today’s guest post was written by my new friend Sally Tyler. Sally lives in Washington, DC. and is a public policy analyst for a national labor union, who spent time in Wisconsin in 2011, and who occasionally reads poetry.

She writes today about Philip Levine, a U.S. Poet Laureate who died last month. Levine is best known for his poems about laborers and the working class. As Sally writes, his loss is a loss to the labor movement as a whole.

Enjoy.
Philip Levine, U.S. Poet Laureate 2011-12, who died in February, said that he began writing poems about the people who worked alongside him on the line at Detroit auto plants in the 1950’s because they were “voiceless.” I think Levine would have probably admitted that workers were always saying something, but that not enough people bothered to listen.…

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Vast majority of Michiganders – 86% – agree that paid sick leave should be available to ALL workers

As Ramona Grigg discussed in her recent guest post “We Need Paid Sick Leave Because Workers Are Humans First“, Democrats in the Michigan legislature have introduced legislation mandating paid sick leave for all Michigan workers. As she wrote, nearly half of Michigan workers are forced to take vacation days or take unpaid leave to stay home if they are ill. That includes the people who make and serve your food in restaurants or who interact with the public in other direct ways.

Democrats recognize this as a serious problem and want to fix it.

This week, Denno Research released a poll conducted for Mothering Justice and the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan that shows overwhelming support of this idea.…

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Wisconsin poised to become next Right to Work state, uses “Freedom to Work” meme beta tested in Michigan

With their state Senate debating so-called “Right to Work” legislation this week and their Assembly expected to take it up next week, Wisconsin is poised to become the latest Republican-controlled state to enact the anti-union law. In the weeks and months leading up to Michigan’s passage of right to work legislation, anti-union forces rebranded it as “Freedom to Work”. The term “Freedom to Work” is even used on our state government website.

As it turns out, as in so many other ways, Michigan was the testing ground for new corporatist and conservative efforts. The group Wisconsin Right to Work now has FreedomToWorkWI.com as the URL of its website.…

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