Tag Archives: MI GOP

Why I oppose Right to Work

A lot of people are confused about what exactly Right to Work is which makes sense since the vast majority of Americans aren’t affected by Right to Work legislation.

What is Right to Work?

“Right to Work” legislation defunds unions by saying that union members cannot be required to pay dues as a part of their membership in the union – which sounds really great until you consider that this promotes freeloading.

Moreover, while big business is one of the largest supporters of Republican politics (Koch bros, anyone?), labor unions are one of the biggest supporters of Democratic politics. Defunding unions means less bargaining power, lower membership, and less political clout.

So what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t people have the right to not join a union?

You are not required to join a union in your place of work. It’s optional. However if there is a union at your place of work and you don’t join the union, that doesn’t mean that you aren’t benefiting from their work – so you still pay dues.

Wait. So you still have to pay even if you don’t want to join?

Yes. The union is still representing you to your employer on your behalf. You are still benefiting from their work.

Defunding labor unions is an attack on good jobs and hard-working Americans. The GOP, being in the pockets of big money and corporate America, sees paying workers less and having fewer rights in the workplace as the solution to our current economic woes. If employers can pay less, they can increase profit, maybe even expand operations in the U.S.

As Anne Savage said on Twitter today, “Snyder didn’t sign Right to Work bill so Michigan can compete with Indiana he did it so Michigan can compete with China.”

Corporate America and their GOP cronies are hoping that we’ll forget the advances made by the labor movement during the 20th century. And, you gotta give them credit, if there’s ever a time to do it, it’s during an economic downturn when any job is better than no job. Once we start repealing the advances in labor made during the 20th century, we can start competing with China, India and Mexico for the jobs that we’ve been exporting for the sake of their CEO’s and shareholders’ bottom lines.

Want a history on labor unions? Ezra Klein gave a quick overview last night (12/11) on TRMS.

Bottom line: The GOP is making a strategic attack on unions for their own gain and dressing it up like a Christmas present to working Americans. If the GOP cared about workers’ rights and “freedom”, they wouldn’t have chosen a lame duck session to push the legislation through here in Michigan at a time when no one was expecting it after years of Governor Snyder saying that this sort of legislation is wrong for Michigan.

By the way, Governor. You were right. Right to work is wrong for Michigan.

2014, here we come.

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The best of the best (protest signs 12/11)

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One of my favorites from today. Simple, straight-forward, and it was the only sign I saw all day that brought together the pro-union, pro-Planned Parenthood forces.

As things got started this morning, there was a giant banner hanging on the capitol. Protestors used their own signs to cover it up until someone could be found to cut through the iron cables.

As things got started this morning, there was a giant banner hanging on the capitol. Protestors used their own signs to cover it up until someone could be found to cut through the iron cables.

A myriad of protesters and among them... a myriad of Santas throughout the day.

A myriad of protesters and among them… a myriad of Santas throughout the day.

The mitten signs were some of my favorites.

The mitten signs were some of my favorites.

In most office windows, staffers and politicians could be seen peering out, taking photos of the protest with their smart phones. I commend Rep. Segal for taking the effort to show her solidarity.

In most office windows, staffers and politicians could be seen peering out, taking photos of the protest with their smart phones. I commend Rep. Segal for taking the effort to show her solidarity.

The simplicity in this just about sums it up.

The simplicity in this just about sums it up.

"Nerds have a union?"

“Nerds have a union?”

RIP MI Democracy

My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

What do you think? I think this is one kick-ass teacher!

What do you think? I think this is one kick-ass teacher!

Classic.

Classic.

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This is what democracy looks like

Protesters march around the capitol.

Protesters march around the capitol.

 

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My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

My favorite poster that I saw all day long.

 

Protesters getting ready to march on the capitol from across the river around 9 am.

Protesters getting ready to march on the capitol from across the river around 9 am.

 

After 9 am, the eastern steps of the capitol building suddenly became a very crowded place.

After 9 am, the eastern steps of the capitol building suddenly became a very crowded place.

 

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The rat king coming home to his castle.

The rat king coming home to his castle.

 

Incident police HQ

Chants could still be heard blocks away from the capitol building.

 

I wish that the 27 had been in Celsius.

I wish that the 27 had been in Celsius.

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Today is the day

In a matter of a few short hours I’ll be down at the capitol building in Lansing, joining thousands of other protesters to let Governor Snyder and the Michigan GOP know how we feel about ramming through right-to-work-for-less legislation through out of the blue in the lame-duck session.

I’m trying out the Twitter thing – and I’ll be posting updates as often as possible on the blog. (Check out my feed on the sidebar.)

The plan is to take a lot of pictures, not get arrested, and scream until I can’t scream any more.

See you there.

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About time

Barack Obama was in Detroit today and he’s finally bringing the fight on union-busting legislation.

Not a second too soon.

Barack Obama was also in Michigan to announce new investments by Daimler here in Michigan.

And in case you weren’t looking, just when you thought this lame-duck session was jam-packed enough, both chambers voted to approve measures restricting abortion coverage on health insurance plans, leaving the decision up to the employer as to whether or not they want “elective” abortions covered (i.e. abortions not covering the mother’s life).

 

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Good news day from the Mitten

It’s been a good news day for my homestate of Michigan.

First of all, Governor Rick Snyder vetoed a handfull of bills passed by the Michigan House and Senate that would have created new restrictions for voters and people organizing voter registration drives.

More on that in a minute.

Before I go on to discuss that in detail, I just also wanted to mention that GM released numbers today showing sales up 16% over this time last year. Chrysler also had good numbers to report. June saw a 20% increase over a year ago according to the article released on MLive this morning.

So an indisputably good day for the Mitten.

Back to the “voter suppression” bills that the Governor vetoed today.

First of all, I think I’d just like to say that there is nothing unreasonable about having to show photo ID when you vote. I think that that’s a pretty fair thing to be asked to do when you take voting as seriously as I do as part of your civic duty.

However, when you take voting seriously as part of your civic duty, you don’t want to disenfranchise people and so I’m pleased that Governor Snyder vetoed the bill today. The Michigan House acted disgracefully in passing the bill back in June when they forced through the bill without a roll call vote, claiming the 2/3 majority needed for its passage and immediate implementation even though they only had 66 votes as it turns out rather than the 73 needed. Without a 2/3 majority, a bill cannot be implemented immediately and a waiting period is required before enforcement can begin.

What would that have meant?

That would have meant, if the Michigan House GOP had gotten its way, that the new voter ID laws would’ve gone into effect now, a mere four months before a hugely contentious presidential election in which Michigan is one of the key states in play as Mitt Romney’s birthplace. Four months before any election is not the appropriate time to implement these sorts of changes because of the confusion they would create among voters; Governor Snyder himself cited this when explaining his veto.

But you say that everyone already has a photo ID anyways. What’s the big deal? The Secretary of State in Michigan claims that 99.5% of registered voters already have some form of ID. Let’s suppose that’s true. In 2008, 5,000,000 people voted in the presidential election. Half of a percentage point comes out to 25,000 people – or the size of a small city. That’s bigger than Walker, Michigan. That’s a bigger number than Norton Shores and Romulus. That’s bigger than Kalamazoo Charter Township and Marquette.

So you can’t say that 25,000 people is nothing, can you?

Let’s compare it to the numbers cited by Republicans seeking to enact these laws. According to a state audit released in May, somewhere around 1,300 instances of voter fraud occurred over a three year span.

Can changes be made to voter ID laws to improve the process? Yes. Is there a need for these new changes? According to an article from the Detroit Free Press, it’s unclear if all 1,300 instances of voter fraud that were discovered were people actually trying to vote under someone else’s identity.

What is clear is that such changes ought to be made in a more professional way, not only with better timing for the sake of clarity and inclusion, but also with respect for the Michigan constitution and the proper procedure. Approaching this from a strictly utilitarian point-of-view, let’s not alienate potentially over 25,000 people who might otherwise vote because Michigan Republicans have really bad timing. (The number of people disenfranchised by this would actually be higher since the state only had a 2/3 voter turnout in 2008 and the Secretary of State said that 99.5% of people registered to vote have ID – so the number could be somewhere around 36,000 people.)

Reducing our politics to pointing the finger at the other party and saying “They treated us worse when they were in power!” makes a joke out of the political process. This is effectively what the Republican majority in the Michigan House has claimed as their excuse for denying these sorts of roll call votes.

Sooner or later, people might wake up and realize this. Then we won’t need bills aimed at voter suppression because the people won’t give a damn any more.

But for today: Bravo, Mr. Snyder. The country could use more free-thinking, independent minded leaders as yourself.

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Vagina

For the backstory, check out this helpful article from MLive.

The best part is Ari Adler, spokesperson for House Speaker Jase Bolger, getting quoted at the end of the article:

“Majority Floor Leader Jim Stamas has informed Minority Floor Leader (Kate) Segal that Reps. Brown and Byrum will not be recognized to speak on the House floor today after being gaveled down for their comments and actions yesterday that failed to maintain the decorum of the House of Representatives.

Adler said that under Stamas’ floor leadership, “the House Republicans have allowed more debate on the House floor than ever seen in the past few sessions when House Democrats were in charge. House Republicans often go beyond simply allowing debate by welcoming open and passionate discussion of the issues before this chamber. The only way we can continue doing so, however, is to ensure that the proper level of maturity and civility are maintained on the House floor.”

And here’s what Representative Brown actually said.

So let me echo Representative Brown in questioning this move on the part of Mr. Stamas. Where is the offense? Where is the breach in decorum?Using a medically correct term for female genitals? In expressing her dismay that Christian colleagues are trying to force their religious views on her while she refuses to force her religious views on them?

This is what our democracy has become in Michigan: the rich deciding the fate of the poor, debates over font-size on certified petitions, men deciding what to do with women’s vaginas.

In the words of my favorite bumper sticker: Don’t worry. Keep ignoring your rights. They’ll go away.

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