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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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GUEST POST: We Need Paid Sick Leave Because Workers Are Humans First

The following post was originally posted at Ramona’s Voices. Note that there is an ask at the end of this post: several groups are looking for stories from workers both who have and don’t have paid sick leave with their jobs. Please check out the links and share your stories.

There’s a fuss going on in Michigan over whether the state should mandate paid sick leave for all workers. It’s the Democrats who are proposing it but the Republicans dominate the government, so at this point it’s not a question of winning the issue, it’s a question of how far their bill gets before it fails.…

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New study finds that union members are happier, more satisfied people

A new study by professors from Baylor University and the University of Arkansas shows that, despite a 10% decline in union membership over the past 30 years, union members are happier and have greater satisfaction in their lives than non-union members. In a New York Times article titled “Want to Be Happy? Join a Union”, the two professors talk about their research:

[A] recent study may give some workers reason to reconsider [union membership]. For those who belong to a union, membership seems to bring a benefit that perhaps surpasses better wages or generous health insurance: higher life satisfaction.

The study authors, Patrick Flavin, an assistant professor at Baylor University, and Gregory Shufeldt, an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock, used data from five different years between the early 1980s and mid-2000s, conducted in the United States, of the World Values Survey, a research project focusing on people’s beliefs.

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Koch brothers on the attack against Eric Schertzing in MI-08

The uber-wealthy Koch brothers are no fans of organized labor. Nothing stands in the way of their massive accumulation of wealth quite like workers who want a fair wage, good benefits, and a safe work environment. By funding myriad different groups, they work diligently to stamp out workers’ rights wherever and however they can.

One of the groups they fund is the National Right to Work Committee (NRTWC), a front group for anti-worker corporatists working to spread right to work laws throughout the country. This Koch-funded group is now on the attack in Michigan. Their target is Eric Schertzing, Democratic candidate for Michigan’s 8th Congressional District (read my interview with Schertzing HERE.)

NRTWC sent Schertzing and his opponent Republican Mike Biship a questionnaire designed to show how pro-worker or anti-worker the two candidates are.…

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