Michigan working women and men rise up to reclaim their rights
by Félix Pérez
Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. In the case of Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder and his state legislative lieutenants have gone out of their way to target educators and other working women and men and their families with abusive legislation that seeks to concentrate long-term power and advance the agenda of corporate CEOs.
Well, Michigan’s middle class has decided it has had enough. They are rising up to reclaim their rights.
Last week, as part of their broad-based effort to restore the balance of power in the state, organizers submitted 226,000 petitions to repeal the Emergency Manager Law heavily promoted by Snyder.
Formally known as Public Act 4, the law gives the governor the authority to appoint emergency managers who have unlimited power to direct the day-to-day financial, operational and administrative functions of a city, municipality or school district declared financially distressed. That power includes the sole authority to void any collective bargaining contract, impose pay cuts and even dictate curriculum design.
In another populist stand against political bullies in the state capital, the We Are The People coalition this week launched a campaign to enact formal protections for the middle class and the right of workers to come together to protect their jobs and negotiate a fair contract.
The campaign, Protect Our Jobs: Our Work, Our Voice, Our Future, is a response to the relentless attacks on Michigan workers by “Lansing politicians and corporate special interests. These political attacks on basic collective bargaining rights have done nothing to put Michiganders back to work. Instead, all they’ve done is hurt middle-class families, small businesses and local communities. Enough is enough.”
The Protect Our Jobs campaign aims to amend the state constitution to protect the right to collectively bargain.
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This week we talk about retired Connecticut educators fighting for teachers’ health insurance, a collective bargaining attack that was beaten back in Utah, union activists and students joining forces in New York to fight for higher education and feature video of the Wisconsin State Superintendent calling on Gov Walker to stop his attacks on public education. Read More