After losing in court countless times, the corporatist front group Mackinac Center has finally won a round. This week, an administrative law judge ruled that the Michigan Education Association (MEA) teachers union must end its decades-old policy of having an “opt-out month” and allow its members to leave at any time. The judge’s ruling is essentially a recommendation to the the Michigan Employment Relations Council (MERC) which has the final say on the matter.
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.…
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.…
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.…
Republican House Jase Bolger is on what appears to be a one-man effort to extort money from Detroit labor unions. He recently laid down a new condition for state support of the so-called “grand bargain” in Detroit, a carefully-crafted and complex agreement that would protect the priceless art collection held by the Detroit Institute of Arts and dramatically minimize the financial impact on Detroit city pension holders. His new requirement is that labor unions pay for part of it so that the state would be on the hook for less than the $350 million they are being asked to contribute as part of the multi-party agreement.…
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.”
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.…
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.…
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.…
They think their pensions are OK, too
This guest post is by Roger Kerson, a Michigan-based media consultant for labor unions, environmental groups, and non-profit organizations. He was director of public relations at the United Auto Workers during the GM and Chrysler restructuring. As an associate of the Arlington, Virginia-based firm PRWRK, he has provided strategic counsel to the Transport Workers Union of America during bankruptcy at American Airlines and to the United Mine Workers during bankruptcy at Patriot Coal.
Aren’t you tired of all those overpaid, underworked public employees, who are bankrupting cities like Detroit with their lavish pay and pensions?…
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