organized labor

Open Letter to Michigan Governor Snyder

Dear Mr. Snyder,

How dare you? I watched your press conference after the signing of Right to Work for Less legislation the other day. How dare you stand before the cameras and tell such bold faced lies? How dare you claim to be a friend of labor unions? How dare you claim to be pro-worker? How dare you claim that there has been ample discussion on the matter of RTWFL? Your GOP legislators are in the habit of deleting opposing posts on their Facebook pages and banning users who disagree with them. How is that ample discussion? Your GOP legislators frequently refused to see citizens during office hours to discuss RTWFL. How is that ample discussion? Your GOP legislators have had their staff hang up on people who were telephoning to voice their opinions on RTWFL legislation. How is that ample discussion? Your GOP legislators have had people removed bodily from Town Hall meetings for voicing an opposing opinion on RTWFL. How is that ample discussion? Your GOP legislators filled the gallery with members of their staff in order to keep citizens out of the chamber while they were voting on RTWFL. How is that ample discussion? That is not ample discussion – that is called “Cram it down our throats bullying” – and you are as guilty of that as your GOP legislators. That’s all on you – you own that.

Are you vying to be? Congratulations, because I believe you may have actually unseated John Engler for that title when you signed the Right for Work For Less More →

The Truth About “Right-To-Work” – Video

New information from EPI shows that despite claims from Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels that “right-to-work” created jobs in his state, the state is actually losing jobs to neighboring states that don’t have those laws.  Ed Schultz has the details.

Please click here to watch this video from the Ed Show, 12/16/12.
originally posted at The Ed Show, 12/13/2012

THE GIANT VS. THE MIDGETS – Rep. Hank Johnson, Congressional Record, 12.12.12

Congressional Record
112th Congress (2011-2012)

“Then you have the commercial committee, let’s call it, of ALEC. They produce legislation such as crush-the-union legislation, also misnamed right-to-work legislation. It is not right-to-work, it is crush-the-union.”

“So the bill, or the bills, that have been passed out of the Michigan assembly in both their house and senate are products of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, almost word for word.”

“And guess what? Those corporations, pursuant to Citizens United, can participate in the campaign process. They can do electioneering. They can influence elections. They can give money to organizations that support candidates. And so it’s an ugly lobbying situation when you put corporations with legislators in a wining-and-dining setting with added benefit of campaign More →

Michigan “Right-To-Work” Law Passes – Video

Michigan’s right-to-work law passes, thanks to right-wing organizations like Americans for Prosperity and ALEC.  Reporter, Andy Kroll, joins Ed Schultz to help expose the dark money and shadow government, and strength of the right wing in state government.

Please click here to watch this video.  Finally, some TV exposure of ALEC and the Koch Brothers again.  MSNBC–please keep up reporting on this danger to America’s middle class and poor.  There is so much more that needs to be shown to people in America and around the world.

Privatizing Government Services in the Era of ALEC and The Great Recession – Section 1, Introduction


by Ellen Dannin 1


In Max Barry’s 2003 novel, Jennifer Government,2 there is no public sector:  The world is run by American corporations; there are no taxes; employees take the last names of the companies they work for; the Police and the NRA are publicly traded security firms; the government can only investigate crimes it can bill for.

Hack Nike is a Merchandising Officer who discovers an all-new way to sell sneakers. Buy Mitsui is a stockbroker with a death-wish. Billy NRA is finding out that life in a private army isn’t all snappy uniforms and code names. And Jennifer Government, a legendary agent with a barcode tattoo, is a consumer watchdog with a gun.3

Events in 2010 through 2012 suggest that Jennifer Government might accurately predict our national trajectory. During that period, a number of states, including states with a long history of public-sector collective bargaining—Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington, and Wisconsin—limited or proposed eliminating or limiting public-sector collective bargaining rights.4 A 2010 “Quinnipiac University poll found that three-fourths of [Connecticut] state voters supported a wage freeze for state workers, and 61% favored layoffs.”5 Public anger also developed in New Jersey as a result of the state’s failure to properly
fund public employee pension benefits by $53.9 billion. Ironically, that anger led to demands that More →

Detroit Free Press Snyder Endorsement Actually Predicted How He Would Screw Michigan

That ill-advised Snyder endorsement contained a hidden gem….one the Detroit Free Press hopes readers won’t revisit.

It’s not often that a major metropolitan newspaper editorial board makes the news over an opinion piece, but that’s just what happened this past week as the Detroit Free Press backed-out of Governor Snyder’s camp like it was suddenly a circulation-killing leper colony. Their “opinion” diatribe displayed a full-blown case of the second stage of grief: Anger — after having lingered on the first stage: Denial, for nearly two years post their endorsement of the governor. Snyder’s about-face on Right-to-work spelled the end of their steamy relationship. The Free Press went well beyond dumping, they completely sanitized themselves of their affection for his dirty politics.

The editors would be well served to examine how much journalistic research was invested in identifying their candidate of choice. On the surface, without even comparing and contrasting Snyder to Virg Bernero, his Democratic foe, you’d think a responsible editorial board would at least question the wisdom of putting a known corporate raider in charge of a state that earned a solid “F” on its Corruption Risk Report Card from the State Integrity Investigation Project. Wide-open for potential corruption, Michigan ranks 44th, with all three branches of government receiving individual flunking grades. More →

Breaking Now–Hundreds of protesters arrive at Michigan Capitol; inside crowd chants ‘this is our house’

LANSING — Demonstrators were massing at the Capitol before dawn this morning as Lansing braced for what was expected to be one of the largest — if not the largest — demonstration in state capital history against right-to-work legislation expected to pass the state House today.

Protesters carried signs with messages such as “Snyder, veto right-to-work.” Two large tents were set up on the front Capitol lawn, including one set up by right-to-work proponents who were expected to be greatly outnumbered.


Senate Bill 116

House Bill 4003

House Bill 4054

On the third floor of the Capitol, dozens of union members circled the rail of the Capitol rotunda, shouting, “This is our house,” as they waited to get into the public gallery.

“I am a kindergarten teacher,” said Renee Theisen of Warren, whose school district was closed today due to poor attendance. “We just want our voices heard. This is important to us to belong to a union, and we want to keep it that way.”

Brett Brown of Owosso, a member of UAW Local 602, said: “I hope that they hear that we’re disappointed with the way this Legislature has handled this issue, especially the governor. I am hoping to effect change.”

A huge contingent of police, armed with billy clubs, began surrounding the Capitol and streaming inside before dawn. Shortly before 8 a.m. today, they began allowing the people inside and they scrambled for the few precious spots in the gallery overlooking the House floor.

But neither the public nor the media will be allowed in to those spots until 9:30 a.m. today, a half hour before session is supposed to start.

Police have limited the amount of public in the common areas of the Capitol to 2,200

Please click here for the latest news on protests in Lansing today,

Obama slams Michigan bill as ‘right to work for less money’ – Article and Videos

At a Daimler AG plant in Redford, Michigan Monday, President Obama slammed the controversial “right-to-work” legislation expected to be signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder this week, saying the proposed law has ”nothing to do with economics” and “everything to do with politics.”

“What they’re really talking about,” Obama added, “is giving you the right to work for less money.”

Obama criticized Michigan Republicans for focusing on anti-union legislation over job creation. “We should be doing everything we can to keep creating good middle class jobs, he said, before adding, “What we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” a line that drew thunderous applause from the pro-labor crowd.

At issue is a bill that would make Michigan the country’s 24th so called right-to-work state, and which began to make its way through the legislature less than a week ago, when Governor Rick Snyder announced it was “time” to take it up. Snyder had had relatively good relations with his state’s unions, having supported the auto bailout and discouraged his Republican colleagues from taking on the right-to-work bill. But that all changed last week as he gave the lame duck Republicans in Lansing the go-ahead to push the bill.

Using a series of tricks and measures that may make the legislation referendum-proof, both the More →


Ed. note:  This is a study was published by the University of Toledo Law Review.  It was written by Ellen Dannin, who is the Fannie Weiss Distinguished Faculty Scholar and Professor of Law at Penn State Dickinson School of Law.  The study is 29 pages in length and I will encourage everyone to read it and check it’s references as being very prescient. 

Here we will post here the Conclusions.  Separate sections will also be posted as time permits.  We think that this is a very important document and worthy of publishing it in sections so that those not wishing to tackle 29 pages at a time can read this.

This small sample, drawn from thousands of model bills that ALEC has drafted, would promote a radical reordering of the operation of American society.  The ALEC bills examined here demonstrate strong opposition to public-sector work and workers and take the view government illegitimately usurps private enterprise. In other words, ALEC contends that the natural and best operation of the education and financial ordering is through private companies in a system in which unions do not exist. ALEC acts on that view through many strategies to move public work to the private sector and to bar union representation and negotiation. Those strategies include tax breaks and subsidies that allow people to opt out of public institutions, penalize government for offering any service that could be provided by the private sector, permit private persons or businesses to challenge a public service, and create vehicles to privatize public work. The strategies also include degrading the quality of public work, giving private businesses the right to sue for claims that they have experienced economic loss by competition from a government agency’s services, and providing incentives to workers to opt out of collective bargaining.

Services that are provided by the government tend to be natural monopolies. If ALEC succeeded in moving all government services to the private sector, the result would be provided by freedom of More →