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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Reverse Robin Hood

Organized labor around these parts owes Michigan Republicans a nice
thank you note. The R's, unwillingly, have done what unions have been
unable to do for years i.e. galvanized their movement. Or put another
way, Republicans have awakened a sleeping giant.
"The unions are more united then I've seen in a long long time,"
boasts Dave Hecker a Metro-Detroit AFL-CIO hancho.
The "credit" goes mostly to House Republicans who have gone
against the wishes of their GOP governor and raised issues that have
union folks hopping mad. You name it from Right to Work, to scrapping
binding arbitration and prevailing wages, unions are getting their
troops engaged.
Over one thousand were in town last week hootin' and shoutin' in
the capitol rotunda and more are expected back this week.
Hecker reflects on previous union meetings where everyone around
the table had a different agenda. It's no secret that Hecker's
Michigan Federation of Teachers had "issues" with the Michigan
Education Association; Michigan Teamsters and the carpenters had issues
with everyone and many times Solidarity Forever was only a sign on the
union hall wall.
But now, the slogan is on picket signs being held by angry union
The problem is they are fighting a losing legislative battle. The
Republicans need 56 votes in the House to pass their stuff and they
have 63 members. Republicans need 20 votes in the senate and there are
26 members.
The only hope the unions have is to pick off 7 GOP senators or 9
GOP house members and on most, if not all of these labor issues, that
may be next to impossible.
Union leaders have tagged the R's with union busting and their
next strategy is to focus on the governor's budget which they contend
taxes the poor to give tax breaks to the rich.
They hope this reverse Robin Hood theme will keep the membership


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