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AFSCME Fights Anti-Worker Lame Duck Shenanigans in Michigan

Photo Credit: Getty / Bill Pugliano
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Requiring Michigan workers to hold union “recertification” elections every two years – a naked attempt to make it harder for workers to join together to seek better working conditions and improve the services they provide to the communities they serve.

Reducing the retirement benefits owed to workers as a punishment for performing legally sanctioned union work while on paid leave. 

Barring workers and employers from negotiating paid leave to work out employee contracts, resolve worker-management disputes in a timely fashion, and do other things to make workplaces more efficient. 

Those are among the anti-worker proposals that Michigan lawmakers – like their counterparts in neighboring Wisconsin – are trying to ram through the legislature in a lame-duck session before AFSCME-supported Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer takes over in January.

AFSCME members throughout Michigan are working overtime to block these blatantly political attacks on working people. 

They’ve teamed up with members of allied unions to write letters to their state lawmakers, make calls, send emails, launch ads and participate in worker lobby days – all designed to derail proposals that would hurt their state and allow corporate-backed politicians to tip the scales of power toward wealthy special interests.

Other destructive pieces of legislation under consideration by the lame-duck legislature would delay an increase in Michigan’s minimum wage until 2030 and exempt some businesses from offering paid sick leave. These same lawmakers are also trying to water down voter-approved ballot initiatives that would create a legislative redistricting commission and strengthen voting rights, and thwart the voters’ will in other ways.

Whitmer predicted that this egregious power grab would backfire, telling the New York Times, “This gamesmanship will keep voters and activists active through the 2020 election.” 

AFSMCE members are taking action now, not waiting until the next election.

“Corporate arm twisters are doing their damnedest to force some fair-minded Republicans to do their dirty work in the lame duck session,” said AFSCME Council 25 President Lawrence Roehrig. “These outside influencers are fighting hard to do everything they can to destroy effective employer-employee relationships. These working relationships are essential for both working families and our communities.” 

He went on to say, “We’re fighting hard with pro-worker legislators who are ready to stand up for the hardworking public employees who keep Michigan communities running every day. Our union is standing up for working families and we are at the Capitol in Lansing to make sure that the legislature stands up for working families, too. Together, we will never quit.”