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GUEST POST: Michiganders are paying more every year to clean up severe weather

The following guest post is by Sue Browne, Regional Programs Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance in Michigan.

Photo by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog.

It’s hard to believe that last year’s bad weather cost taxpayers like you and I around $277 million in damages across the state—a $67 million increase from the year before. Had our infrastructure been better prepared in the first place, this money could have been spent elsewhere in many different ways.

Of course we can’t prevent dangerous weather from happening, but we can do more to prevent the electric grid, wastewater treatment systems and more from breaking down on us as easily the next time around.…

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Effort to raise minimum wage – which corporatists shills refer to as the “black teenage unemployment act” – is a win for Dems

It’s not a racist dog whistle. It’s just racist.

The national effort to raise the minimum wage (which hasn’t been done since July 24, 2009) is a winning issue for Democrats. Because of this, conservatives Republicans corporatists are freaking out.

It’s got them so freaked out that economist Art Laffer, the father of “trickle down economics”, skipped past using coded, dog whistle racist rhetoric and went straight to pure, unadulterated racist rhetoric. Here he is on Fox News in a segment from January:

[T]he minimum wage makes no sense whatsoever to me. I mean, honestly, it’s just the teenage — black teenage unemployment act and this is the very group that we need to have jobs not be put out of work because of the minimum wage.…
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Michigan GOP continues its attack on labor, will strip funding for MSU for teaching labor courses

It never ends…

Republicans on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education included language in an appropriations bill they voted out of committee last week which will strip Michigan State University of a half million dollars in annual funding if they continue to offer a training program for members of a variety of building trades unions. The legislation strips the funding if they offer any course which includes “participating with any business or union, or group of businesses or unions, in hosting, sponsoring, administering, or in any way facilitating an academy, seminar, class, course, conference, or program that provides instruction, in whole or in part, in techniques for encouraging or discouraging employees in regard to union organizing.”

The penalty for each violation of the provision would be a $500,000 reduction in a university’s state appropriation.…
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PROGRAMMING NOTE: Eclectablog to moderate Plymouth/Canton Dems issues forum this Wednesday


On Wednesday night, I’ll be moderating an issues forum organized by the Plymouth and Canton Democratic clubs. The panelists are an all-star cast:

  • Karla Swift, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO
  • David Hecker, president of the American Federation of Teachers of Michigan
  • Emily Dievendorf, executive director of Equality Michigan
  • Libby McGaughey, Vice President of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Michigan
  • Heaster Wheeler, an assistant Wayne County CEO and former executive director of the NAACP’s Detroit branch

We will be discussing a wide range of issues including labor, LGBT, education, women’s reproductive rights, voting rights, and social justice, general.…

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Michigan Republicans seek to make illegal union picketing more illegal

Michigan anti-union Republicans: Solving non-existent problems since 2011

Photo credit: Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

During the 2011-2012 legislative session, House Republican Tom McMillin introduced House Bill 5024 which would impose $1,000/day fines on individuals engaging in illegal picketing in our state and $10,000/day fines for unions that sponsor or promote illegal picketing events. In other words, the picketing involved is already illegal and subject to fines, etc. McMillin just wanted to make them MORE illegal.

HB 5024 was reported out of committee but died in the full House before the second reading.

Ever hopeful that he can screw unions and union members in yet another way, McMillin reintroduced the bill as HB 4643 in April of last year.…

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Michigan’s Big Business coalition ramps up campaign against raising minimum wage

As groups around the state prepare to gather signatures to put a proposal on the ballot to raise Michigan’s minimum wage, a coalition of businessmen is preparing to fight the proposal tooth and nail.

Before you bust my chops for using the phrase “businessmen”, take a look at video from the event. Other than Sen. Rebecca Warren, there do not appear to be ANY women there among the mostly white men:

The group plans to use a four-prong strategy to defeat the ballot initiative:

  1. Block the petition drive by taking it to court
  2. Undermine the petition drive through advertising and other means to discourage people from signing the petition
  3. Fight the proposal if it does go on the ballot
  4. Turn to Republican lawmakers to pass laws to prevent an increase in the minimum wage
  5. These people want to ensure that our lowest-paid workers stay right where they are.

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Tennessee GOP threatens VW for allowing union to form so Virg Bernero invites them to Lansing

You know how Republicans are all about supporting “job creators”? It’s their reason for fighting any increases in the minimum wage, regulations that protect the environment or people, and a plethora of other things that Democrats fight FOR every day. Well, Republicans in Tennessee have made it clear that their adoration and idolization of “job creators” comes to a screeching halt the minute it benefits the workers who allow “job creators” to run their job creating businesses.

Volkswagen’s Tennessee plant is very likely to become a union shop with a vote this week and VW is cool with it. In fact, they are encouraging it.…

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BREAKING: Federal court rules that Republican law banning graduate student unions in Michigan is unconstitutional

Score one for the good guys

Today a United States District Court ruled that Republican legislation signed into law by Governor Snyder in March of 2012 is unconstitutional. The ruling says the law prohibiting Graduate Student Research Assistants (GSRA) from forming labor organizations was invalid because it was adopted in violation of the Michigan Constitution. The decision will open the door for GSRAs in the State of Michigan to decide if they wish to be represented by a union.

American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Michigan President David Hecker released a statement saying, “This is yet another example of Governor Snyder and the Republican-controlled legislature ignoring the rules to advance their own anti-worker political ideology.”

“We’re gratified the judge ruled that the law targeting GSRAs’ rights to organize is unconstitutional.…

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Is UAW president Bob King considering a run for governor of Michigan? – Updated x2

Perish the thought

See updates below

As Democratic candidate for governor Mark Schauer racks up endorsements around the state from elected officials, progressive groups, and labor unions, one group is notably missing from the list: the United Auto Workers (UAW). Although Schauer is clearly going to be the nominee come August of this year, the UAW’s lack of early endorsement is puzzling.

Adding to the mystery is an MIRS report this week that UAW president Bob King approached Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer asking her to reconsider her decision not to run for governor. Whitmer, of course, did not change her decision not to run so that she could be home more for her two daughters, but the report has people questioning King’s motives.…

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A few things to remember about a day to never forget: the day the birthplace of the labor movement became right to work

Never, ever forget

Eclectagraphic by Anne C. Savage, special to Eclectablog

A year ago today, Michigan, the birthplace of the modern labor movement, became the country’s 24th right to work state. Though it has failed to kill the labor movement in the way its corporatist proponents had hoped it would, neither has it done anything that could even remotely be considered good for job growth in our state. In fact, a continuous drop in Michigan’s unemployment rate came to an abrupt end several months later and it began to rise again. For the past three months, it’s been stalled at 9%, the third worst in the country.…

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