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IMPORTANT NOTICE ABOUT KEEPING OUR UNION STRONG!

Members of our union will soon be getting a letter in the mail encouraging you to contribute to our Political Action Committee, also known as PAC.

The PAC is critical to the future of our union, our pensions and our way of life –and we need to keep it strong!

Our PAC is one of our best, most effective weapons for standing up for the issues that directly affect our jobs, paychecks and safety.  Our pensions, wages, benefits, training, health care, safety, working conditions – all these are closely tied to our ability to advocate to policymakers, and the PAC is what helps us do this.

When you get the letter about our PAC, please take a moment to read it, sign the card and send it back to us.

Remember: Signing the PAC card won’t cost you or our union anything.  The money comes from a 20-cent an hour assessment from the contractor. If you do NOT sign the card, that free money will go into a promotional fund, instead of our PAC fund.

Under state law, we need your written consent to spend contributions on political activities, and that’s why we’re asking you to sign the card.

So, please, sign the card, send it back and help us keep our brotherhood and sisterhood strong.

Thank you.

Right to Work

Michigan’s controversial right-to-work law lets a worker enjoy all the benefits of wage increases and other benefits union members negotiate through collective bargaining – without having to pay dues and join the union.

Right to work is an attempt by extreme politicians and corporate special interests to persuade people to leave unions so unions will crumble and fall apart. Weakened unions will struggle to bargain for anyone and all of us will be left with lower wages and benefits. Right to work offers NO protection and NO economic benefits, despite the claims of politicians and their corporate cronies.

Here are some facts:

  • Right to work makes workplaces more dangerous, with workplace death rates 52.9 points higher in right-to-work states, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.1
  • Right-to-work laws drive down wages for ALL workers, including non-union workers, women and people of color. Workers in right-to-work states earn $1,500 less a year than workers in states without right to work.2
  • Right-to-work laws do NOT improve business conditions in a state.3
  • Communities LOSE jobs when wages go down because of right to work.4
  • High-tech companies that provide good-paying American jobs prefer states with a strong union presence because unions provide a highly skilled workforce and reduce turnover.5
  • Right to work is NOT a deciding factor where businesses locate.6
  • Workers in right-to-work states are LESS likely to have health insurance, with the rate of employer-provided health care for workers 2.6 points LOWER than in other states.7
  • Right to work does NOT improve employment. Eight of the 12 states with the highest unemployment rates are right-to-work states.8

People who support right to work FALSELY claim it protects workers who don’t want to join a union or disagree with a union’s politics. The FACT is federal law already protects workers who don’t want to join a union or make political contributions.

Prevailing Wage

Efforts to repeal prevailing wage laws are wrongheaded and reckless — to workers, to Michigan businesses that play by the rules, and to taxpayers.

Construction industry prevailing wage laws are a check against a dangerous tendency in the construction industry: Cutting corners, low bids and other unscrupulous practices that degenerate into destructive wage and price competition. These practices can drive skilled and experienced workers from the industry. They also reduce productivity and quality. Reduced to poverty-level jobs, workers with less money will struggle to care for their families and contribute to the local economy.

Prevailing wage laws:

  • Ensure tax dollars are used to create jobs for local Michigan workers, not given to fly-by-night contractors who hire untrained, unskilled and undocumented workers in an effort to underbid established businesses

  • Protect established Michigan businesses that hire the required skilled workers and that are already paying their employees wages at or near the prevailing wage. Workers paid prevailing wages are less dependent on taxpayer-funded programs.

  • Attract skilled, safe and productive workers who ensure that projects are done on budget, saving costs for businesses and taxpayers.

  • Do NOT increase construction costs and may even reduce long-term costs, according to decades of studies.

The construction customer and taxpayers as a whole do not save any money when prevailing wage laws are repealed, according to a 2011 report by Keystone Research Center. When Michigan suspended its prevailing wage laws in the 1990s, schools construction costs showed no difference before or after. Data from the Federal Highway Administration shows states that pay higher wages saw lower overall costs than states that pay low wages. Labor hours to complete a mile of highway are 32 percent lower in high wage states despite a 69-percent higher wage rate, and states that paid higher wages saw savings of more than $30,000 per mile to taxpayers, according to the Construction Labor Research Council.

MISCLASSIFICATION

Misclassification occurs when an employer treats an employee as an independent contractor in order to avoid paying social security taxes, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, liability insurance and overtime pay.
Many businesses engage in “1099-ing”, which refers to the practice of reporting on IRS Form 1099 any income paid to workers who are independent contractors. Many of these same businesses should be reporting that income on IRS form W-2, which is intended for the reporting of income to employees. Misclassification directly impacts local communities by robbing them of much-needed revenue. It also harms workers who get hurt on the job as well as taxpayers who must foot the bill.

  1. www.aflcio.org/issues/safety/memorial/upload/dotj_2010.pdf
  2. www.epi.org/publication/bp299
  3. www.bepress.com/rle/vol5/iss1/art25
  4. www.epi.org/publication/working-hard-indiana-bad-tortured-uphill
  5. www.itif.org/files/2010-state-new-economy-index.pdf
  6. www.areadevelopment.com
  7. www.epi.org/publication/bp299
  8. www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm