Michigan

Posted: December 12, 2012
By: Clay Cerny

I was listening to a radio program this morning that played an audio clip from Fox News.  A commentator went on and on about “union thugs” and what they are doing in Michigan.  Why are people who are trying to earn a good living and have security in the work place called thugs?  It’s a label, a rhetorical device used to simplify thinking and demonize an opponent.

What if we looked at rich billionaires as thugs?  Their goal is take rights away from working people and lower wages.  Right wing Michigan politics have been driven by the heads of two large corporations, Amway and Meijer.  To me, rich people that want to dominate poor people and working people are the real thugs.  They and their political puppets need to be called out and held accountable.  Enough with Fox News and its clichéd lies.

Posted: December 10, 2012
By: Clay Cerny

Speaking today in Michigan, President Obama put himself on the side of labor in its conflict with Michigan’s governor and state legislature that is pushing through “right to work” legislation.  The President even said that such laws mean “you have the right to work for less money.”  Great words, golden words, but we have heard words from this president in the past.  What will he do?  Actions matter.

In his first four years, the President has done little to help labor.  He is currently said to be supporting a Pacific trade bill that would be as bad or worse than NAFTA.  He also champions education “reform,” which is a smoke screen for busting teacher unions and enabling corporations to profit from public education.  Labor supported Mr. Obama.  It is time for him and other Democrats to return the favor.  If they don’t, the elections of 2014 could be worse for the Democrats than 2010.

Posted: December 7, 2012
By: Clay Cerny

Michigan’s governor and Republican state legislature have followed the Wisconsin model in trying to make the state “right to work.”  They are fast-tracking legislature, ignoring large protests in the capital city Lansing.  Governor Snyder and his allies claim that they need this law to be competitive with Indiana, which has similar anti-union work rules.

As John Nichols points out in The Nation, if this anti-union action can happen in Michigan, where are workers safe?  Nichols quotes a union official who says that wages are $1,500 lower in right to work states.  Too many people have forgotten how unions led the way to better wages, benefits, and security.  Here in Chicago, our teachers union showed that a united group could win the day.  We’ll see what happens in Michigan now, and what happens in two years when the governor and legislature have to go before the people.  I don’t simply blame the politicians.  They were elected.  We who support union rights need to make a better case – and get to the polls.

Travis Waldron of Think Progress breaks down what is happening in Michigan and the consequences for working people.  Beyond the immediate set back, one positive I see is a new vitality in the labor movement.  Labor is fighting for its life.  The politicians are only doing the bidding of masters like the Koch Brothers and Rupert Murdoch, rich men hungry for a few (billion) dollars more.  It may take a while, but labor will triumph, and the bigger winner will be democracy in America.

Posted: March 15, 2011
By: Clay Cerny

Last Saturday, a Wisconsin farmer named Tony Schultz spoke up for working people in his state.  I don’t know anything about Mr. Schultz’s background, but he can speak intelligently and with passion.  I urge you to watch this video.

Is there a governor worse than Scott Walker?  Yes, he’s in Michigan, and his name is Rick Sndyer.  Governor Snyder recently passed a law that would let him take over cities that are in financial trouble.  Now he wants to cut corporate property takes by 86%.  How will he pay for this?  By raising the taxes on the working poor and cutting school funding, which will cripple the state’s future workforce.  Scott Walker is a clown.  Rick Snyder is evil.  Tony Schultz?  His speech says it all