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Debunking the Mackinac Center's phony teachers union "pension spiking" scandal

Debunking the Mackinac Center’s phony teachers union “pension spiking” scandal

I recently wrote about Michigan teacher Mary Davenport, a woman who had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in support from her union, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), only to turn around and claim they “weren’t there when she needed them.” She was duped into being the poster child for the campaign by the corporate front group Mackinac Center to encourage teachers to leave their union.

In the letter Davenport signed that was sent to thousands of Michigan teachers using their taxpayer-funded work email addresses, Davenport railed against what Mackinac Center calls “pension spiking” by MEA president Steve Cook whose pension will be based on his MEA salary.…

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Another attack on Michigan workers: Republicans move to slash minimum wage for under-20 workers

Another attack on Michigan workers: Republicans move to slash minimum wage for under-20 workers

In their neverending quest to screw over workers to benefit employers, Republicans in Michigan are now turning their attention to those making minimum wage. A bill that would lower the minimum wage by 15% for those under 20 years old was passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee today.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Margaret O’Brien (R-Portage), claims it will solve a problem which doesn’t actually exist.

Youth under 20 years old could make less than Michigan’s minimum wage under a bill that’s headed to the full Senate for consideration.

Under current law, employers can pay people under 18 either 85 percent of Michigan’s minimum wage or the federal minimum wage, whichever is greater.

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UPDATED: June 10, 2015 was a sad day in Michigan history as Republicans spit in the faces of Michiganders

UPDATED: June 10, 2015 was a sad day in Michigan history as Republicans spit in the faces of Michiganders

NOTE: This post has been updated HERE.

Yesterday, June 10, 2015 was a red letter day in Michigan history, one that we will all look back on with disdain and disgust. Here are the highlowlights of what Michigan Repbulicans did in a single day:

Sending a package of bills – “RFRA for Adoption” – to ensure that adoption agencies can legally discriminate against LGBT couples trying to adopt

Deciding that being without a “forever home” is better for children waiting to be adopted than being with two loving couples who are of the same sex, House and Senate Republicans passed House Bills 4188, 4189, and 4190 and sent them to Gov.…

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Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

Ann Arbor teachers file Unfair Labor Practice suit against school administration

As I mentioned in my last post, I have been traveling in China for work for the past two weeks. I’m now back in Michigan and have finally recovered from my jet lag and the 12-hour time difference. I appreciate your patience during my absence. Regular posting will now resume : )

Back in 2011, shortly after Republicans took control of our state government, one of the first things they did was to enact a series of laws designed to diminish the ability of teachers to bargain collectively for fair wages, benefits, and working conditions. The new laws created local boards that would govern teacher discipline, teacher evaluations, teacher tenure and strengthened a prohibition on strikes to further harm unions that encourage them.…

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Senate version of Michigan Republicans' "Local Government Control Prohibition Act" drops, same as House version

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

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

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

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

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

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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