Will Michigan follow Indiana and be the next “right-to-work” domino to fall in the right’s ceaseless quest to rollback worker rights?

    When the citizens of Michigan recently failed to pass Proposition 2, which would have established the right to collective bargaining in our State Constitution, we signaled to members of the Republican party that now was the time to launch their all out attack on organized labor. When Prop 2 lost by 15-points, we demonstrated to them not only that unions weren’t as strong in the State as the once were, but that we, the voters, didn’t care. (The measure even lost in historically liberal Washtenaw County.) And, right now, with just two weeks left in the lame duck session, we’re seeing evidence of a mounting assault. Republicans, to put it crudely, are getting in place to take the kill-shot.

    On Monday the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which had been previously been neutral on the subject, came out in favor of so-called “right-to-work,” or “freedom-to-work,” legislation, which would essentially starve unions in our State by seriously restricting their ability to collect dues and “agency fees” from workers. (More on this later.) And, yesterday, our Governor, Rick Snyder, who had previously said that right-to-work legislation was “not on (his) agenda,” as it was too “divisive” and “polarizing,” abruptly changed direction and announced that, as or right now, it “is on the agenda.” The following is from the Detroit Free Press.

    Right-to-work is now “on the agenda” at the state Capitol, but no decision has been made on whether to pass such a law, Gov. Rick Snyder said today…

    Snyder made the comments after a lengthy meeting in his Capitol office with the Legislature’s GOP leaders, House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville.

    Snyder said talks will continue and no decisions have been made.

    He did say that there is a view that unions must put something on the table if right-to-work is not to proceed, after having gone ahead with a collective bargaining ballot proposal against his urging in last month’s election…

    As Michigan Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Rich Studley noted to the press, “This action (assuming Republicans move forward with something) would make Michigan the 24th state (after Indiana) to enact freedom-to-work legislation.” He went on to say that it was necessary, as it would “help create and retain jobs in Michigan and improve our state’s economic competitiveness.”

    While it’s undoubtedly something that corporate America wants, as it weakens unions, and drives down employee wages, it’s not something that’s historically proven to help improve the lot of workers and their families. The following points come from a fact sheet produced by American Rights at Work.

    • These (right-to-work) laws drive down wages for all workers, including non-union members, women, and people of color. Workers living in right-to-work states earn about $1,500 less per year than workers in states without these laws. The wage penalty is even higher for women and workers of color. (Source)

    • Workers in right-to-work states are less likely to have health insurance. The rate of employer-sponsored health insurance for workers in right-to-work states is 2.6 percentage points lower than in states without these restrictions. (Source)

    • Right to work makes workplaces more dangerous. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of workplace deaths is 52.9 percent higher in right-to-work states. (Source)

    • Communities lose jobs when wages are lowered by right to work. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that for every $1 million in wage cuts, the local economy sheds six jobs. (Source)

    • Right to work does not improve the employment rate. In fact, 8 of the 12 states with the highest unemployment have right-to-work laws. (Source)

    • According to a report from Ohio University, these laws actually led to a decrease in employment in certain industries. (Source)

    And, here, for those of you who enjoy graphics, is an image borrowed from today’s Detroit News, showing the states that currently have right-to-work laws. As you’ll notice, they’re almost exclusively states that voted in favor of the pro-corporate Romney/Ryan agenda in the last election.

    As for how right-to-work legislation works, it’s pretty straight-forward. Once passed, the legislation would make “union security” clauses in collective bargaining agreements illegal. These clauses make it possible for unions to stay financially viable by ensuring that even those who aren’t union members still contribute toward the union, if they’re working in a union shop and benefiting from the activities of said union. (Under current law in Michigan, if you work in a union shop, and choose not to join, and pay dues, it’s required that you pay what is called an “agency fee,” which, in all cases, is somewhat less than the union dues being paid by other employees.) Without the union security clause, it’s almost inevitable that more people will opt-out of their unions, hoping to get a little more in each paycheck, while continuing to enjoy the wages and benefits negotiated by the union. Of course, short term benefits are not the same as long term gains. With decreased funding, and fragmented workplaces, it’s almost a certainty that unions will be weakened, worker pay will fall, and the workplace safety standards that many of our ancestors fought so hard for will begin to erode.

    Fortunately, people seem to be rising to the occasion, not wanting the same thing to happen in Michigan that just happened in Indiana.

    For those of you who would like to do more than just sign a petition, people are beginning to organize. Only a few minutes ago, I received the following note from the Washtenaw Community Action Team (WCAT).

    In Ann Arbor with an hour or two to spare? WCAT and our allies urgently need help with data entry for a campaign against the “right to work” law that Michigan Republicans will be introducing very soon.

    “Data Entry and Phone Banking Party: BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop)

    10 AM – 6 PM every day until we finish

    LEO/GEO office: 330 East Liberty Suite 3F, Ann Arbor, 48104, between Fifth and Division (if driving, the underground parking off of Fifth is convenient)

    To help win the fight against so-called right-to-work legislation, we need to get all our potential activists into our database. We also need to call all of them to get them to take action.

    So, drop in for an hour or two as we do the grunt work of protecting workers rights in Michigan.

    PLEASE RSVP TO: Robert Vodicka, emuftorganizer@gmail.com

    [note: My introduction to WCAT can be found here.]

    Also, the UAW will be rallying in Lansing on Thursday, at the Statehouse. Those interested in participating are being asked to meet at UAW Local 724 (450 Clare Street, Lansing), beginning at 8:00 AM. Further information can be found here.

    I certainly don’t have any insight into what Rick Snyder is thinking, but my sense is that he was telling the truth during the campaign when he said of right-to-work that, “It is a divisive, polarizing issue that will drive people apart when we need everyone at the table working to reinvent Michigan.” As I understand it, Democrats in Lansing are making threats, and telling Republicans that they’ll get even with them later, by withholding support for other legislation, if this is jammed through during what remains of this legislative session, but my sense is that it will call come down to Rick Snyder, and whether he’s strong enough to stand up to the pressure being put on him by his party and the wealthy business owners of Michigan, like Dick DeVos. Fortunately, Snyder has stood up to them in the past. Just prior to the election, as you’ll recall, he vetoed the voter suppression package that the Republicans had attempted to pass. Sadly, though, those instances are few and far between, and I don’t know that he’ll be able to do the same thing this time, unless there’s an overwhelming and immediate response from pro-labor forces.

    update: The war has officially started, in spite of the fact that Snyder has said that no decision has been made. The television ads, funded by a right wing group calling itself the Michigan Freedom Fund, have begun airing… Here’s the opening salvo.

    [note: Michigan Freedom Fund is headed by Greg McNeilly, an employee of Dick DeVos's Windquest Group.]

    update: The protests have begun in Lansing as well. Following is video shot earlier today. As mentioned above, these protests are expected to continue into tomorrow, and grow.

    This entry was posted in Civil Liberties, Michigan, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

      29 Comments

      1. anonymous
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:07 am | Permalink

        Snyder is pissed at the unions for trying to get Prop2 though. He’ll likely compromise and just do right-to-work for public employees, but it’s not because he respects unions. He just doesn’t want a protracted fight on his hands.

      2. Edward
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        The onslaught is unending.

      3. Jon Curtiss
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        On the difference between union dues and agency fees….. Dues pay for everything the union does while agency fee payers can only be charged for the things that the union is legally required to do for them — negotiating and enforcing the contract — so the agency fee is always less. The amount will depend on the budget of the particular local union and its “parent” union’s. Also, the agency shop isn’t automatic; the employer has to agree to it through negotiations.

      4. Knox
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        In spite of the recent losses in Indiana and Michigan, some are saying that labor unions are resurgent in America. Yahoo Finance in fact has a video this morning entitled “Why We Need Labor Unions After All”.

        http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/why-labor-unions-172114831.html

        Here’s the text:

        There are many reasons why some executives don’t like labor unions.

        They can create an “us versus them” culture within companies and organizations, instead of putting everyone on the same team
        They can create a culture of entitlement
        They can restrict flexibility and hurt competitiveness
        They can drive companies to move jobs out of the country, to places where there are no unions
        They can become career employment for their leaders, who pay themselves well (much better than the workers they’re representing)
        They can maintain ludicrous compensation and benefit levels for jobs based purely on seniority
        They can force companies to treat all union employees equally, regardless of the relative skill and value of particular employees–thus reducing incentives for people to do a great job
        Etc.

        But unions came into being because company owners weren’t sharing enough of their companies’ wealth with the rank-and-file employees who helped produce it. Look at the news headlines over the past few weeks — employees are speaking out against low pay and no benefits. Hostess Brands, the maker of the iconic Twinkie, is closing because of a standoff with its union employees, but a judge recently ruled that Hostess management will still receive bonuses before the company is liquidated. Employees at American Airlines, Wal-Mart and fast food chains in New York City are protesting unfair pay practices. Members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 63 Office Clerical Unit in California are striking over charges that terminal operators have outsourced jobs.

        And, unfortunately, with the decline of labor unions, that lack of sharing is again increasing.

        Namely, we’ve developed inequality so extreme that it is worse than any time since the late 1920s.

        Contributing to this inequality is a new religion of shareholder value that has come to be defined only by “today’s stock price” and not by many other less-visible attributes that build long-term economic value.

        Like many religions, the “shareholder value” religion started well: In the 1980s, American companies were bloated and lethargic, and senior management pay was so detached from performance that shareholders were an afterthought.

        But now the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Now, it’s all about stock performance–to the point where even good companies are now quietly shafting other constituencies that should benefit from their existence.

        Most notably: Rank and file employees.

        Great companies in a healthy and balanced economy don’t view employees as “inputs.” They don’t view them as “costs.” They don’t try to pay them “as little as they have to to keep them from quitting.” They view their employees as the extremely valuable assets they are (or should be). Most importantly, they share their wealth with them.

        Consider the following:

        1) Corporate profit margins just hit an all-time high. Companies are making more per dollar of sales than they ever have before.

        2) Wages as a percent of the economy are at an all-time low. One reason companies are so profitable is that they’re paying employees less than they ever have before.

        When presented with these facts, many people invoke one of two arguments. First, technology is making employees irrelevant. Second, low-skill jobs command low pay.

        Both of these arguments miss key points: Technology has been making some jobs obsolete for 200+ years now, but it is only recently that corporate profit margins have gone through the roof. Just because you can pay full-time employees so little that they’re below the poverty line doesn’t mean you should–especially when retention is often a problem and your profit margin is extraordinarily high.

        More broadly, what’s wrong with this?

        What’s wrong is that an obsession with a narrow view of “shareholder value” has led companies to put “maximizing current earnings growth” ahead of another critical priority in a healthy economy: Investing in human and physical capital and future growth.

        If American companies were willing to trade off some of their current earnings growth to make investments in wage increases and hiring, American workers would have more money to spend. And as American workers spent more money, the economy would begin to grow more quickly again. And the growing economy would help the companies begin to grow more quickly again. And so on.

        But, instead, U.S. companies have become so obsessed with generating near-term profits that they’re paying their employees less, cutting capital investments, and under-investing in future growth.

        This may help make their shareholders temporarily richer.

        But it doesn’t make the economy (or the companies) healthier.

        And, ultimately, as with any ecosystem that gets out of whack, it’s bad for the whole ecosystem.

        So, for the sake of the economy, we have to fix this problem.

        Ideally, we would fix it by getting companies to voluntarily share more of their wealth with their employees. But the “shareholder value” religion has now been so thoroughly embraced that any suggestion of voluntary sharing is viewed as heresy.

        (You’ve heard all the responses: “The only duty of a company is to produce the highest possible return for its owners!” “If employees want to make more money, they should go start their own companies!” Etc. Beyond basic fairness and the team spirit of we’re-all-in-this-together, what these responses lack is any appreciation of the value of personal loyalty, retention, respect, and pride in the workforce. People love working for companies that treat them well. And they’ll go to the mat for them.)

        Anyway, it would be great if companies would start sharing their wealth voluntarily. But, as yet, with a couple of notable exceptions (Apple recently gave its store employees a raise it didn’t need to give them), they’ve shown no signs of doing that.

        So if companies can’t be persuaded to do this on their own, maybe it’s time for executives to rethink their view of labor unions.

        Healthy capitalism is not about “maximizing near-term profits.” It is about balancing the interests of several critical constituencies:

        Shareholders
        Customers
        Employees
        Society, and
        The Environment

        It’s time more of our business leaders started to understand that.

      5. Demetrius
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        One small thing everyone can do is to refuse to refer to this proposal as “right-to-work.”

        Like “death tax,” and “peacekeeper missile,” the phrase “right-to-work” was cleverly devised by Republican operatives to make this legislation sound innocuous, even positive.

        Instead, we should call this anti-worker, anti-union legislation what it really is:

        “Right-to-work-for-lower-wages.”
        “Right-to-work-for-fewer-benefits.”
        “Right-to-work-with-no-job-security.

        Etc.

      6. Aaron
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        If anybody who wants to fight “Right to work” is able to take off part of the day and drive up to the capitol building in Lansing, that would be helpful also– there will be labor mobilizations there for most of the day.

        -Aaron S.

      7. Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        GOOD GOD. I’m tired.

        Please make it stop.

        I just read Jack Lessenberry’s latest column in the MetroTimes in this. He rightly pointed out that the UAW’s $20 million that it sank into losing Prop 2 could have been better spent trying to unseat some of our batshit Republican legislature.

      8. Meta
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        Good call, Peter. I was going to mention Lessenberry’s terrific new column as well. Here’s my favorite part.

        When Bob King became head of the incredible shrinking United Auto Workers union two years ago, the word was that he wanted to be the greatest UAW leader since the legendary Walter Reuther.

        Instead, he seems more likely to be remembered as the worst leader the union has ever had, and he has a year and a half to go before the UAW will mercifully replace him.

        The autoworkers union was well on its way to its all-time high of 1.5 million members when Reuther died in a plane crash near Pellston in 1970. Today, it has barely one-fourth of that. Actually, membership has risen a tiny bit in the last year, as the domestic automakers have come back from their near-death experience. But the union still has only 380,000 members, and about one-third of those are in non-automotive occupations.

        Most new hires now come in at a second-class wage scale of less than $30,000 a year. Two-tier wage scales were one of the many things unions wanted to prevent, back in the day.

        To which today’s leaders say: Well, hey. Someday we’ll be strong again.

        When King got elected in June 2010, he vowed to pursue “equality of gain,” under which the rich guys running the corporations would share their renewed profits with the workers.

        Right. OK, if you are finished laughing bitterly, he also vowed to begin organizing the “transplants,” the auto factories, mostly in the South, owned by foreign companies.

        When King became president, the UAW represented workers at none of these plants. Today, well … the union represents workers at none of these plants. The union was, however, reportedly handing out material a few months ago at a new Volkswagen plant in Tennessee.

        Be still, my beating heart. The King-led UAW’s biggest mistake, however, one that must have depleted the union’s treasury, came this year. The UAW threw everything it had behind the drive to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution.

        They spent millions. Opponents spent millions, and the unions lost, big-time. The collective bargaining amendment went down roughly 57 percent to 42 percent. Voters in Flint and Detroit supported it, and it got killed virtually everywhere else.

        Not surprisingly, Republicans in the Legislature are now gleefully jumping on this as a chance to destroy unions once and for all, by making Michigan a “right-to-work” state, like Indiana.

        That would mean the union shop, where all workers have to join a union, or agree to be represented by it, would be outlawed. For all practical purposes, that would mean unions would be absolutely powerless, and would probably soon become extinct.

        State Rep. Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) is salivating over the prospect of introducing a RTW bill. Shirkey owns a nonunion rivet-making factory in Jackson County, and claims “businesses will not be able to survive unless they treat people right and pay people right.”

        Yes, I think that’s what the owners of the Triangle Shirtwaist factory said, as they locked all those young women in before they burned to death in that famous fire in 1911. Shirkey seems to have gotten up a hate for union work rules when he worked half a year in some GM plants decades ago. Now, few would deny that there has been a lot of silliness and inefficiency in certain unions. But a lot of that has been wrung out of them, especially, perhaps, the battered UAW. American auto factories today aren’t the same place as in 1970.

        But there’s no evidence that unions aren’t needed, or that businesses flock to right-to-work states. Minnesota and Vermont, where unions are protected, have among the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. Former Detroiter Art Kainz notes that his adopted North Carolina, a RTW state, has unemployment higher than Michigan’s. There, he told me, Sunday a Japanese seatbelt manufacturer in Greensboro just announced plans to close.

        Sayonara, job security.

        Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly said right to work “is not on my agenda.” But if an RTW bill lands on his desk, he is all but certain to sign it. There were reports late last week that he was open to trying to kill the bill if unions agreed to, essentially, roll over and play dead.

        My guess is that won’t fly. Republicans have the votes either now or in the next session to pass right to work if they want to, possibly thanks again to the stupidity of Bob King and his sidekick, perpetual Democratic State Chair Mark Brewer.

        Imagine if the union had taken the money — as much as $20 million — spent on the collective bargaining amendment and used it instead on a carefully targeted attempt to win control of the Legislature.

        Democrats did gain five seats in the House last month, after losing a staggering 20 seats, and control, two years before. But Republicans still control the chamber, 59 seats to 51.

        Had a mere 3,000 votes switched in the right places, Democrats would now be able to block any of the GOP’s crazier bills.

        Read more:
        http://metrotimes.com/columns/fools-vs-scoundrels-1.1412020

      9. TeacherPatti
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        I love they look at the defeat of Prop 2 and go “Hmmm…people must not want unions!” yet they ignore the defeat of Prop 1 and still push their new EM laws.

      10. via Greg Pratt
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        “About 500 at the capitol right now. Many “middle class lobbyist” stickers. Laborers, UAW, AFLCIO in large numbers. No one is finding her/his senators/reps in their offices. Reports are that RTW introduction is imminent. Jase Bolger is sharing tea and croissants courtesy of huntington bank on the first floor. Corrupt carpetbagger… chanting, pounding in the rotunda. We will need relief in the afternoon to continue to disrupt republicans from getting anything accomplished today.”

      11. Meta
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        Snyder is addressing the press right now.

        Gov. Rick Snyder and the two Republican leaders in the Legislature are expected to outline plans to pass right-to-work legislation in Michigan at an 11 a.m. news conference today.

        Snyder is to be joined at the news conference, described as a “media roundtable,” by Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger.

        Details were not disclosed, but right-to-work legislation is expected to begin moving in the Legislature today. Rather than introducing a new bill, which under the rules of the Legislature would take longer to pass, lawmakers are expected to introduce a substitute for a House bill that is already in the legislative pipeline.

        Read more:
        http://www.freep.com/article/20121206/NEWS15/121206030/right-to-work-legislation-Rick-Snyder-Republican-leaders?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

      12. anonymous
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        You can watch it live, here.

        http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/12/watch_live_right-to-work_press.html

        It looks like they’re making police and fire exempt.

      13. TeacherPatti
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

        So this is really about an attempt to screw teachers and government workers. Why are police and fire exempt? What is the rationale behind that?

      14. anon
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

        apparently our own Ron Weiser is one of the key players behind this legislation.

        if you can divest from mckinley properties, and spread that word about Weiser, that would be helpful.

      15. anon
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        who wants to spearhead the unionizing of corner brewery and ann arbor brewing company workers?

      16. Mr. Y
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        They say it has to do with Public Act 312, Patti, and the Michigan Constitution. According to Snyder and company, there are apparently provisions that protect each group from this, at least for the time being.

        These people are incredibly slimy pieces of shit. I apologize for the language, but I can’t believe I’m watching these men make the case that this is good for unions and will make them stronger. Their dishonesty is infuriating. This has everything to do with crippling their opponent, and nothing to do with making life better for Michigan workers. I could perhaps respect them if they were honest about their motivations, but this makes me sick.

      17. anon
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        “Right-to-work states rank consistently at the bottom of state rankings of educational achievement . . .”

      18. TeacherPatti
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Thanks Mr. Y…I wonder how that got in there but it didn’t get in there for the rest of us? (Not like it will be in there long, I’m sure).

        Don’t apologize for your language…these are sheep raping horse cock suckling sons of bitches. This is retribution for the last election and has everything to do with making the rich richer. I agree that it would be refreshing if they would just say that they want to do this to make their friends richer. I don’t want to hear the bullshit about how we will attract jobs here now by being “competitive” (read: by paying less and screwing the workers.)

        Well, my 45 minute contract guaranteed lunch is about over…I’m glad I enjoyed that as it might be the last one I get (I know, I’m overreacting)

      19. Posted December 6, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Somehow I think that the owners of the corner would hotly oppose unionization.

      20. Demetrius
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

        Lest anyone forget what this struggle is really all about:

        http://griid.org/2011/05/26/this-day-in-resistance-history-the-battle-of-the-overpass/

      21. Hugh Grant
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Does anyone know what the Ann Arbor / Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce’s position is going to be on this legislation?

      22. anonymous
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

        Word is that they’ve begun pepper spraying protestors in at the Capitol.

      23. Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Pepper spraying

        http://www.clickondetroit.com/news/Right-to-work-protestors-arrested-in-Lansing/-/1719418/17680050/-/frsiokz/-/index.html

      24. Ken J.
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        It’s the final victory for the Reagan Democrats in suburban Detroit.

        It’s also a major step forward in the campaign to repeal the 20th century.

        American workers should have the right to die in factory fires, just like Pakistani workers, who, we were told, were glad to have those jobs which burned them to death. I was telling people years ago, the future of labor relations in America is Triangle Shirtwaist.

      25. John Galt
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

        I thought that you people liked choice.

      26. anon.
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        painful reality: yes, Mark, Michigan will fall

        I think its time for the unions to take a cold hard look at what they do and how they do it and find a new way. Cut the PhD negotiation crap and get back to really representing their members. They need to allow their members to move between companies and plants within companies to make management compete for the best labor. They need to find a humane way to reward productivity and drop seniority rules and allow management to be more competitive. And, they need to allow practical common sense solutions to problems. Even if those solutions come from engineers outside of the plant/school/department etc. Its time to realign.

      27. Jeff Irwin
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        The Right to Work for less bills (HB 4157, 4466, 4054) were passed out of the House. The Senate will likely vote on the bills on Tuesday next week.

        The language was introduced today and the bills were brought to the floor without any committee hearings. The Republicans even locked down the Capitol so that they wouldn’t have to endure the throngs of protesters.

        The Republicans believe that this will improve Michigan’s economy. Those of us who look at the data know that the states with the most dymanic and successful economies are those states that invest in education and support the rights of workers. RTW states have consistently lower wages, more poverty and higher unemployment.

        In 2011, Michigan Republicans devastated school funding, raiding $1.5 BILLION per year from K-12 schools and cutting higher education by 15%. Now, Michigan Republicans are eliminating the fundamental aspects of collective bargaining.

        In any event, I’m still on the floor of the Michigan House, standing with Rep. Rutledge to oppose the repeated attempts by Michigan Republicans to drag down the state I love.

      28. Jeff Irwin
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

        One more thing: the Michigan Republicans also inserted an appropriation in the bill in order to deny the citizens our right to referendum. Because of this appropriation, we cannot start a petition drive to overturn this action. This practice of inserting appropriations in controversial legislation is the surest sign that the Michigan Republicans are afraid that their actions are not supported by the voters.

      29. the injector
        Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

        Over the kast many months, for the first time in my long 36 years in MI, my partner and I are thoroughly considering leaving this state. I have fought long and hard for justice in this state for queer folks and people living in prison here. But, things are getting more and more ass backwards. Can I tolerate to raise a child in a state that says her parents are unworthy to foster children (let alone raise her). Ya, remember the onslaught of bullshit legislation passing our House and Senate with flying colors that actively allows discrimination against gay folks and women… tell me people why should we stay? Not to mention that I cannot adopt my child in this state. I have no legal rights to her. Oh, but I am unfit to parent according to christian zealots making laws in this state.

        Every other day something comes down the pipe from the people that supposedly represent us that is an attack on the average working person, queer people, and/or the already so marginalized people that most of you reading this don’t even give of shit about them(that’s folks behind bars–not the staff. and most of those folks are disproportionately people of color and poor people).

        Mass exodus? Or Mass organizing that is effective and inclusive and not liberal pandering…
        Should we stay or should we go? That is our mantra as of late.

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      2. [...] the controversial anti-union legislation in question was forced through the lame duck legislature this past November without so much as a single hearing, in violation of all accepted protocol.)Here, for those of you [...]

      3. By How Dick DeVos made Michigan a right-to-work state on January 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

        […] who determined that the campaign shouldn’t be about collective bargaining, but about “freedom,” ensuring that anyone who opposed it would be seen as anti-freedom. And the ads started […]

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