labor unions

Business
1:01 pm
Fri June 21, 2013

Michigan union dispute tied to much bigger national issue

Union picketers walk near a Panera Bread in Kalamazoo
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A federal court challenge is blocking a group of west Michigan bakers from forming a union.

A federal court is preventing the National Labor Relations Board from certifying local union elections, because three of the board’s five members were appointed by President Obama without congressional approval.

In 2012, Panera Bread bakers voted to form a union at 6 locations along I-94 in west Michigan. The NLRB certified the vote.  But because of the legal challenge to the president’s appointees, the issue remains in limbo. 

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Business
11:39 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

Union: Michigan home builders not telling the truth when they claim there's a labor shortage

hstreetagent

A major union is disputing claims by Michigan’s home builders that there are not enough skilled workers to fill all the jobs in the state’s resurgent construction industry.

New home prices are up in Michigan this year. Building permits are also up.

But the Home Builders Association of Michigan released a survey last month claiming a deep gap between the number of skilled trades workers and the jobs available.

That’s not true, according to Mike Jackson.   He’s the Secretary-Treasurer of the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters and Millwrights.

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Economy
11:34 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Detroit fast food workers on strike, demanding higher wages

McDonald's hopes to hire thousands of new workers.
Miguel Vaca Flickr

Many Detroit fast food workers are on strike today. Workers from restaurants across the city walked off the job at 6 a.m. this morning.

Organizers of the strike expect workers from 60 restaurants to participate. These include McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, Little Caesar’s, Burger King, and Popeye’s.

According to the Associated Press and Detroit pastor, Charles Williams II, workers want $15 an hour, better working conditions, and the right to unionize. The strike’s organizers claim that most fast food workers currently make $7.40 an hour, which is minimum wage in Michigan.

The Detroit News has interviewed workers involved in the strike. Claudette Wilson, Detroit resident and an employee at a Burger King on Eight Mile, said:

"I make $7.40 an hour, the same as when I started working in the fast food industry three years ago. We're the fastest-growing job market in the country with the lowest pay."

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Business
9:06 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

UAW says membership crept up in 2012

United Auto Workers

DETROIT (AP) - The United Auto Workers union says its membership has edged up in the past year after decades of contraction with the shrinking of U.S. auto industry employment.

The Detroit-based union says it reported its 2012 membership figure to the U.S. government Thursday.

The UAW says it had 382,513 members last year, up from 380,716 in 2011. That's an increase of 1,797, or 0.5 percent.

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Politics & Government
11:35 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Poll finds Michiganders are divided on right-to-work law

Not surprisingly the new MSU 'State of the State Survey' shows a large majority of union members oppose the Right to Work law. But there is almost equal support for the law among non-union workers. (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new poll shows Michiganders are deeply divided over the state’s new right-to-work law. The law takes effect today.

Under Michigan’s right-to-work law, workers can't be forced to join a union.

Michigan State University’s “State of the State Survey” asked more than a thousand people whether they thought Right to Work would be good for Michigan’s economy.

42.7 percent said it would be good.  41 percent said it would be bad.  16 percent said the right-to-work law would have no effect on Michigan’s economy.

Economist Charles Ballard is the survey’s director. He says right to work supporters tend to be overwhelmingly white, male, non-union conservatives, while opponents tend to be overwhelmingly minority, female, pro-union liberals.

“It doesn’t surprise me that the public is split. I think the public really is split and these survey results are a fairly accurate reflection of that,” says Ballard.

As an economist, Ballard thinks right-to-work will have little effect on Michigan’s economy.

“And on that basis, I’m thinking this issue probably will not go away,” says Ballard.

Michigan is the 24th state to adopt a right-to-work law.

Law
7:50 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Right-to-work law takes effect in Michigan

Thousands of union members protested last December as the Michigan Legislature passed Right to Work legislation (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - Michigan workers can choose not to financially support unions that bargain on their behalf under a right-to-work law now in effect.

The measure that took effect at midnight will apply to labor contracts that are extended or renewed after Wednesday. Many unionized employees won't be affected for months or years.

Union organizers are asking people to wear red Thursday to protest Michigan becoming the 24th right-to-work state - a once-unthinkable change in a place where organized labor has played a central role.

Supporters plan to celebrate the law's passage.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is expected to see protesters at unrelated events in Detroit. He said Wednesday the continued political fighting, lawsuits and protests over right to work are "part of democracy" and he appreciates that "change is difficult for people."

Business
4:00 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Two metro Detroit newspapers could face strikes in the coming weeks

Union workers could strike at the Macomb Daily and Royal Oak Tribune.

Union workers at the Macomb Daily and Royal Oak Tribune newspapers are contemplating a possible strike and other job actions at the end of the month.

The Journal Register company owns the papers. It has announced plans to end its union contracts and probably make deep cuts in its union and non-union workforces, more than 800 people statewide.

Lou Mleczko is the president of the Newspaper Guild of Detroit. He says the unions, representing the union 175 members involved, met Sunday to agree on a strategy.

“We are not just going to sit idly by and let them terminate these contracts….and strip pay and benefits away from our members,” says Mleczko. 

Mleczko says the unions plan to start telling advertisers about their plans.

He says the unions may hold strike authorization votes before March 19th.

That’s the date of the next bankruptcy hearing for the Journal Register company.

Politics & Government
3:24 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Judge tosses lawsuit challenging right-to-work law

Police cars line up outside The Capital during right to work protests
david_shane flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - An Ingham County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging Michigan's right-to-work law.

The Lansing State Journal reports that Circuit Judge Rosemarie Aquilina rejected the suit on Monday because it should have been filed directly with the state Court of Appeals.

She didn't rule on the underlying legal challenge.

The right-to-work law takes effect in late March and makes it illegal to require financial support of a union as a condition of employment.

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Law
5:00 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

8 plead guilty in Michigan right-to-work protest

(file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Eight people have pleaded guilty to misdemeanors after being arrested inside the state Capitol building during a December protest against passage of Michigan's right-to-work law.

Their attorney says they won't get jail time under misdemeanor pleas entered Friday to a Lansing district judge. They will be sentenced in September.

The eight defendants from the Detroit area were arrested and charged with felony resisting and obstructing after police said they tried to push past two troopers guarding the Senate door on Dec. 6.

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Politics & Government
5:08 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Stateside: ACLU files suit against right-to-work legislation

More than 12 thousand right-to-work protestors tried, and failed, to convince state lawmakers not to pass the legislation in December
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Jake Neher discusses right-to-work legislation.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

Today the ACLU filed a lawsuit against right-to-work legislation.

Michigan Public Radio's Jake Neher spoke with Cyndy about the suit and its potential implications.

“They say for about four hours on the day right-to-work started moving through the legislature, the doors were closed. They say that that violates the Michigan Constitution which guarantees the residents of Michigan the right to assemble. There were people from the public inside at the time, they just weren’t letting in others," said Neher.

According to Neher, people across the state feel as if their voices are underrepresented.

“The people that brought this bill up say that they’re concerned that a win-or-take-all system for votes leaves people in certain parts of the state without a voice,” said Neher.

Economy
4:39 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Stateside: Right-to-work legislation takes effect on March 27

Michigan will be the 24th right-to-work state.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

Roland Zullo and Vincent Vernuccio spoke with Cyndy about right-to-work legislation in Michigan.

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

On March 27, Michigan will become the 24th state to adopt right-to-work legislation.

Roland Zullo of the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and Economy at the University of Michigan and Vincent Vernuccio of The Mackinac Center for Public Policy spoke with Cyndy today about the legislation.

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Economy
11:50 am
Thu January 24, 2013

New data show sharp decline in state union membership

Protestors gathered at the Capitol in December to oppose the passage of a "right-to-work" law
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Michigan unions lost nearly 42,000 members over the course of 2012, representing about 10 percent of the nationwide decline in total membership.

The data come from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that shows the percentage of American workers in unions dipped to its lowest rate in more than 70 years.

David Shepardson of The Detroit News has more:

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Politics & Government
3:36 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Union members protest in Lansing on first day of new legislative session

Union members demonstrate outside the state Capitol on the first day of the 2013-14 legislative session Wednesday.
Jake Neher MPRN

More than 200 people showed up at the state Capitol Wednesday to protest on the first day of the new legislative session.

The union-backed group criticized state lawmakers for making Michigan a “right-to-work” state, and quickly passing a number of other contentious bills during their “lame duck” session.     

Kim Dennison is a unionized nurse in Lansing.

“It’s important that legislators know that we did recognize what they did in December as a wrong move, and that we haven’t gone away, and that we expect better from them in the coming year,” Dennison said.

Calling their protest a “walk of shame,” demonstrators lined walkways leading to entrances to the Capitol. They booed Republicans and cheered Democrats as they entered the building.

The protests were organized by the same group behind the “right to work” protests last month that drew thousands of people.

Economy
5:01 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

Washtenaw County Exploring How to Keep Union Business

Will unions continue hosting conventions in Washtenaw?
dannybirchall/flickr

Washtenaw County is exploring how to keep union business in the area, despite Michigan's new Right To Work laws which goes into effect in March.

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Education
3:54 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

With strike threat looming, Wayne State and professors talk through the holidays

With the threat of a faculty strike looming, both sides in Wayne State University contract talks say they'll continue working toward a deal.

The two sides have met over the holidays, and additional bargaining sessions scheduled. In the meantime, the faculty contract that expired last summer has been extended once again, this time through mid-February.

Talks “made some progress” on Thursday—but not enough, says Charles Parrish, a political science professor and lead negotiator for the faculty union

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Education
4:32 pm
Sun December 23, 2012

In the wake of right-to-work, Detroit charter school teachers press for union

The Cesar Chavez Academy high school campus in Detroit
Credit via www.chavezwaterman.com

Teachers and staff at a Detroit charter school are pressing forward with an effort to unionize.

Teachers at the Cesar Chavez Academy have filed to hold an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. They hope that will happen early next year.

Cesar Chavez serves more than 2000 students on several campuses in southwest Detroit. If a majority of their members votes to unionize, they will be represented by the American Federation of Teachers in Michigan.

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Auto
2:42 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

GM's new Camaro will be built in Lansing, Canadian union upset

GM says the next generation Chevy Camaro will be assembled in Lansing.
GM

General Motors announced today that the next generation of the Camaro will be built at the Lansing Grand River (LGR) Assembly Plant. The Cadillac CTS and ATS are currently assembled at the Lansing plant.

The move could take a few years, according to the Detroit News.

The current model Camaro is built in Oshawa, Ontario.

The announcement sparked concerns that the move would lead to job losses at the plant in Canada.

Dana Flavelle of the Toronto Star reports the effect on jobs is not known yet.

“At this stage, there’s no immediate impact on employment. In the longer term, we really can’t speculate at this time,” GM Canada spokesperson Faye Roberts said in a conference call with reporters.

The timing will depend on when the product life cycle of the current generation Camaro comes to an end. “We haven’t said a specific time,” Roberts said.

In a statement, GM said "lower capital investment and improved production efficiencies" were reasons for their decision.

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Newsmaker Interviews
4:43 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Michigan Nurses Association against 'right-to-work'

Nurses at the Michigan State Capitol Monday afternoon.
NBCnews.com MNA Facebook page

With Michigan poised to become the country’s 24th so-called "right-to-work" state, thousands of protestors have flooded the State Capital today to demonstrate against the legislation. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talks with Katie Oppenheim, a registered nurse, and president of the University of Michigan Nurses Union. Oppenheim is also affiliated with the Michigan Nurses Association.

Politics & Government
4:04 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Right-to-work bills headed to Gov. Snyder’s desk

House Democrats crowd around podium after the first "right-to-work" bill passes, demanding a motion to reconsider. Motion was denied.
Jake Neher MPRN

Governor Rick Snyder will have the final say as to whether Michigan will become a so-called “right-to-work” state.

The state House approved legislation Tuesday that would end the practice of requiring workers to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Representative Tim Greimel is the new leader of the state House Democrats. He said the fight over “right-to-work” is not over.

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Politics & Government
2:20 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Stateside: UAW President Bob King addresses right-to-work

UAW President Bob King says right-to-work legislation will compromise the unions

Protestors swarm the Capitol as right-to-work rapidly moves through the Legislature.

Among the chanting men and women is UAW President Bob King.

Today he spoke with Cyndy about the problems he sees in right-to-work.

"Right-to-work is trying to undermine unions' ability to serve their members. It isn't good for companies. It's a huge mistake," said King.

He addressed various percentages of union participation.

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