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Corporate front groups pushing laughable “National Employee Freedom Week” and other anti-union efforts

Despite the success of groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the State Policy Network (SPN) and their affiliates, and other related anti-union corporate front groups in making states like Michigan so-called “Right to Work” states, these same groups are having far less success in actually getting people to leave their unions. In Michigan, for example, only around 1% of their members quit the Michigan Education Association teachers union after Michigan became a right to work state. The fact is that union membership as a percentage of the work force in our state has remained largely flat since right to work was passed and the number of people who belong to a union increased by 4,000 last year.…

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Mackinac Center continues its efforts to encourage freeloading & destroy teachers union with mass mailing

Last week I wrote about how the corporatist front group Mackinac Center had sent a mass email to teachers in over 50 school districts in Michigan encouraging them to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of the two largest teachers unions in the state.

Their effort didn’t stop there. This week, teachers across the state received postcards in the mail urging them to freeload off the work their union does on their behalf to secure reasonable wages and benefits by leaving the union. This shameless effort to destroy the MEA is transparent in its intent: starve the MEA of the funds it needs to operate to help teachers work with the dignity they deserve and to be adequately compensated for the essential service they provide to society.…

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Ford chief: Union bosses and union thugs helped save our company and avoid federal bankruptcy

The UAW is vilified on a regular basis by anti-union corporatists, including their Republican shills in our state legislatures and the federal government. Our domestic vehicle manufacturers are being hobbled and strangled by the “union bosses” and “union thugs” who have the audacity to collectively bargain for good wages and benefits.

Now that the Great Recession is largely in our rear view mirror, we learn that the Ford Motor Company, the only Big Three company that escaped the economic downturn without having to rely on the federal government for assistance and that didn’t go through bankruptcy, got through it largely because of the UAW.…

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Michigan GOP backs down from penalizing MSU for labor course once they actually get all the facts

Michigan GOP’s new motto: “(Over)react first, get the facts later”

Last March, Michigan Republicans announced that they were going to essentially fine Michigan State University a half million dollars for having the audacity to provide courses that were, in their words, “encouraging labor disputes”.

As it turns out, that wasn’t the case at all. The courses were not open to undergraduates or graduates but only to “groups hoping to learn more about union organizing”.

Now that the Republicans have gotten the full story, they have decided not to fine one of our state’s finest institutions of higher learning after all:

“As we’ve made the rounds and talked to a number of members, I think as we give them all information, I think there’s fewer concerns than were originally raised,” said David Bertram, MSU’s assistant vice president for state affairs.
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GUEST POST: Gov. Snyder and lawmakers urged to take steps to meet EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan

This guest post was written by Sue Browne, Regional Program Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance.

On Tuesday at the Michigan AFL-CIO offices in Lansing, labor and environmental leaders called on Governor Snyder and state and local lawmakers to take the lead in crafting a flexible state plan to help Michigan meet its emissions reduction targets, as laid out in EPA’s Clean Power Plan. The plan includes the first ever proposal of its kind to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants—while also expanding renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts that create jobs across the state.

Mike Schulte, a staff representative with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), Bryan Grochowski of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), and Dave Holtz Chair of the Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter also advocated for renewing the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is set to expire next year.…

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AFL-CIO’s Young Workers program prepares the next generation of labor leaders today (UPDATED)

A couple of years ago, I met with Michigan State AFL-CIO President Karla Swift to talk about the current state of the labor movement. During that conversation, she asked me what advice I had, if any, with regard to improving the labor movement in Michigan. I told her two things: change the face of labor in terms of people’s perceptions of what a “union member” looks like. The second was to infuse the labor movement with new blood and new ideas, particularly from young people who are reasonably new to the workforce.

The first bit of advice is important because people outside of the labor movement need to realize that union members are more than just burly hard hat-wearing construction workers and truckers.…

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AUDIO: Mackinac Center staffer claims emails urging teachers to leave union aren’t “political” (UPDATED)

po·lit·i·cal – /pəˈlitikəl/ – adjective: of or relating to the government or the public affairs of a country

Updated with video of Rachael Siemen asking her question.

Yesterday at a forum at the Michigan House Office Building, the Mackinac Center brought in a representative from another notorious corporatist front group, The Heritage Foundation, to spew propaganda regarding the raising of the minimum wage. During the question and answer period following the presentation, UAW Local 6000 member Rachael Siemen asked Mackinac Center staffer Vincent Vernuccio a simple question regarding a recent email sent spammed out to thousands of public school teachers in Michigan urging them to leave the Michigan Education Association teachers union.…

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BREAKING: Mackinac Center using public school email system to encourage teachers to leave their union (UPDATED)

NOTE: Updated to clarify the restriction on unions using official school emails to conduct business.

NOTE 2: This post has been updated HERE.

The anti-union corporatist group the Mackinac Center is using public school email systems to encourage teachers to leave the Michigan Education Association, one of two major teachers unions in the state. I have confirmed that at least five teachers in the Livonia school district received the following email in their school email accounts:

From: Peter Boyd
Date: Mon, Jun 9, 2014 at 11:42 AM
Subject: August Opt-Out

Dear Colleague:

My name is Peter Boyd, and I’m a high school science teacher in the Martin school district.

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New website shows how unions help ALL workers and fight income inequality

It’s not going too far to say that American workers everywhere benefit on an ongoing basis from the hard work labor unions have done over the past several decades. I work at a non-union company that treats its employees very well. They compete for talent with other companies, including union shops, and this encourages them to do right by us, offering us good working conditions, an excellent benefit package, and a host of other things that result in employees working for them for decades.

That’s a direct result of the modern labor movement’s successes over the years in securing these things for their members.…

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Michigan GOP’s solution to poverty: give the working poor a $30/week raise

“Here are some crumbs. Don’t eat them all at once.”

Senate Republicans seem to be on a mission to outdo each other on making meaningless and insulting gestures toward lifting the working poor in our state out of poverty. First we had Rick Jones who proposed raising the minimum wage to a paltry $8.15 an hour and giving full-time waiters and waitresses a $4 a week (before taxes) raise.

Now we have Senate Republican Leader Randy Richardville with his own insulting legislation. Like Jones, his bill would raise the minimum wage to $8.15 an hour. If you are working full time at minimum wage, that’s a $30 extra a week before taxes.…

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