Who has rights when Detroit goes to court today?

constitution

constitutionSo… you think you’ve got rights?  Right there, written in the Constitution?

Think again.

Today everybody heads to court for the first hearing in the Detroit bankruptcy filing.  And I’m guessing it’s about to get really scary.  I’m guessing that one of the questions that will be posed is: whether Detroit workers’ Constitutional rights actually matter during a Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Here’s the thing: yesterday, the Michigan Court of Appeals halted all state court action on the matter – including the lawsuit challenging the bankruptcy filing on Constitutional grounds.

Here’s the second thing:  there is apparently a legal theory that

Under Chapter 9, a municipality has the clear authority to modify, assume or reject executory contracts, and these actions will not be subject to constitutional challenges outside of the bankruptcy proceeding while adjustment takes place.

Go back and read that again.  “These actions will not be subject to constitutional challenges outside of the bankruptcy proceedings.”

And that category “executory contracts” could include… oh, say… collective bargaining agreements and pension obligations.  (Yes, I’m thinking maybe it even includes those pension obligations written into the Michigan Constitution, back in 1963.)

And here’s the third thing: legal experts seem to agree that, under Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings, the federal court doesn’t have much say over what the state and municipality decide to do.  Here that is, in lawyer-language:

A bankruptcy court’s power is greatly limited under chapter 9 in deference to the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and principles of federalism that reserve to the states sovereignty over their own internal affairs.  Accordingly, the state maintains its powers to control municipalities (subject to specific Bankruptcy Code provisions). The bankruptcy court cannot interfere with the political or governmental powers, property, revenues or use or enjoyment of income-producing property of the municipality.

So, here’s my huge question: what happens if neither the federal court nor the state court has jurisdiction to enforce the constitutional rights of Detroit workers?

Is it possible that the state of Michigan – through its Governor, Rick Snyder – really does have an unfettered ability to reject constitutionally-protected pension obligations?

Yep, looks to me like that would be a pretty scary legal theory, that I’m guessing they will start to test today.

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Speaking of scary…

Remember Governor Rick Snyder’s Very Busy December?  (He pushed through a replacement Emergency Manager law, and then days later he pushed through a Right to Work law?  Merry Christmas, everyone!)

Also in December… The Michigan State University Extension program issued a very interesting report:  “Chapter 9 Bankruptcy: Simulation Exercise.”  You can read it here.

It would look an awful lot like a blueprint-for-bankruptcy, to me, if not for the disclaimer: “It is not intended to provide legal or financial advice or counsel and should not be construed as such to any of its readers. If legal or financial advice is needed, the appropriate licensed professional should be contacted.”

—–

And here’s a disclaimer of my own: I AM NOT A LAWYER.  I could be totally misreading things.

Maybe Gov. Snyder really isn’t going to try to use a legal loophole to get around the rights of Detroit workers.

Maybe I’m just being hypersensitive, what with all the recent attacks on workers and government programs.  (Read today’s New York Times “House G.O.P. Sets New Offensive” here.)

Maybe I’m wrong about all this.

I really hope so.

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UPDATE: Breaking News from Detroit.
(Reuters) – Lawyers for the city of Detroit on Wednesday asked a U.S. bankruptcy judge to set aside all other lawsuits seeking to block the city’s petition for bankruptcy protection, arguing that federal bankruptcy court is the only venue to debate the matter.
—–

Read my Friday blog post about Detroit here.

Read Monday’s post here.

Read yesterday’s post here.

Detroit’s Pension Systems: not ‘unaffordable’, just battered by Wall Street

blaming_unions

blaming_unionsNo, no, no, no, no.  Whatever happened to checking the facts?  Asking the tough questions? Digging a little deeper?

Today, at least one Main Street Media pundit – who is supposed to have special understanding of economics – offered his version of what really happened in Detroit.  From his perspective, it’s all the fault of “the city fathers” who – he says – negotiated unsustainable retirement benefits into union contracts rather than paying their employees adequate wages over all these years.

Oooh, wow – can you feel the weight being pushed back onto our shoulders?  Everybody still wants to blame union contracts.  (Read Amy Traub’s excellent 2010 column “Your Mailman Didn’t Make the Economy Collapse” here.)

Check the facts, look a little deeper, and… wow!  There’s the real truth.  As recently as June 30, 2008, Detroit’s retirement systems were fully funded.  Well, technically, the general retirement system was only 99% funded – but the Group II Police/Fire system had a 10% surplus.

Let’s see if we can remember that far back… what was going on in 2008?!?

Oh, yeah.  Wall Street meltdown.  During the second major recession of George W. Bush’s presidency.   (Did you forget about his first recession?  It started in March 2001… and he tried to cure it with tax cuts.  But nobody paid much attention to the economy after 9/11.)

Here’s a look at the numbers, which I’ve taken straight from the Detroit retirement systems’ annual reports (available at http://www.rscd.org/annual.htm and http://www.pfrsdetroit.org/annual-report.aspx).

Detroit_assetsWhoa!  Take a look at those fund balance dips, after the recessions of 2001 and 2008.  Notice that they’re not very sharp.  That’s because retirement fund actuaries use an accounting technique called “smoothing” when they value assets.  When there is a sharp drop in values, the actuaries amortize that change over a period of several years.  (They do the same thing here at the NH Retirement System.)

So you don’t see the full impact of the 2001 recession until 2004.

Now,let’s try to figure out just how “broke” the Detroit retirement systems really are.

Detroit_ratio Again, you need to pay attention to the actuaries’ math, here.  The funding ratio depends on how the actuaries calculate future liabilities.  And – at least recently – the actuarial assumptions they’ve used have been wildly unrealistic.  “Significant actuarial assumptions used include … projected salary increases of 4.0 percent per year, additional salary increases of [up to] 4.9 percent per year based on merit and/or longevity, and cost-of-living adjustments of 2.25 percent per year.”

Now, let’s look at what actually happened: for instance, last July, Detroit’s police unions took a 10% pay cut.

Gotta wonder how that funding ratio would look if the actuaries had figured future liabilities using that 10% pay cut, rather than all those imagined increases.

Yeah, actuaries can calculate numbers any way they want.

And politicians and pundits can keep spouting the “truth” as they imagine it, rather than how it actually is.  These days, they can win over all sorts of audiences, by blaming unions.  It’s a lot easier to blame unions than Wall Street.

Truth is, we saw the effects of the stock market crash here in New Hampshire, just like they did in Detroit.

As recently as 1999, the New Hampshire Retirement System was more than 100% funded.  But then the Trust Fund lost 10% of its value in the recession of 2001. 

It lost another 25% of its value in the 2008 recession.  In June 2007, before the Wall Street meltdown, the NH Retirement System had $5.9 billion in investments, including

•             $29.7 million of stock in Citigroup, Inc.
•             $23.5 million of stock in American International Group, Inc. (AIG)
•             $14.0 million of bonds issued by Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac)
•             $13 million of bonds issued by Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae)

Two years later, when the recession was in full force,

•             Citigroup stock had plunged to only about 6% of its former value
•             AIG stock was worth only about a penny on the dollar
•             Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae had both been placed into federal conservatorship

and the anti-government pundits started getting lots of headlines attacking public employees’ pensions.

Yeah, here in New Hampshire we understand what’s happening out there in Detroit.  All around the country, public employee unions are dealing with the exact same fallout from the Wall Street crash and the same “truth-or-rhetoric?” political opportunism.

There’s a reason why we talk about solidarity.

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Read my Friday blog post about Detroit here.

Read yesterday’s post here.

 

 

What happens in Detroit WON’T stay in Detroit.

8easysteps

8easystepsIt’s amazing, the stuff you can find on the Internet these days.

Step-by-step instructions for all sorts of things, including – oh, yeah – how public employers can relieve themselves of retirement obligations through the Chapter 9 bankruptcy process.  Like they’re trying to do in Detroit, right now.

And reading through Ice Miller’s description of the process – right here, if you’re interested – it sure doesn’t seem all that hard.

Ice Miller, by the way, is a nationwide law firm that has provided services to the New Hampshire Retirement System for years.   Here’s how they summarize the bankruptcy process that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has just started:

“A proceeding under Chapter 9 is very different than under other chapters of the Bankruptcy Code.  [Under Chapter 9,] the court must determine whether the petition was properly filed and then, at the end of the case, must determine whether a plan for the adjustment of debts is confirmable. Between those two points, a bankruptcy court cannot require the sale of assets; does not oversee the use of funds; does not interfere with political or governmental powers; cannot require tax increases; and generally does not take an active role.”

Whoa.  Doesn’t look like there’s much protection for city workers, in that process.  And according to Ice Miller, during bankruptcy a public employer can:

  • try to reject their obligations under existing collective bargaining agreements;
  • try to reduce pension contributions and retirement benefits.


Which sounds pretty much like what they’re trying to do, out in Detroit right now.

Starting to feel a little queasy here?  Let’s look a little closer.

 

Will of the voters?

Yeah, right.  The “emergency financial manager” who filed Detroit’s bankruptcy petition last week was appointed under a law passed by the Republican-led state legislature in December 2012.  Trouble is, that law is almost identical to a law rejected by voters barely a month before, in a referendum vote.  (Whatever happened to democracy?)

And then there’s the timeline.

I’m not even going to try to figure out which chicken came before which egg.  The newest emergency manager law became effective in March.  The law firm Jones Day was awarded a $3.35 million contract as Detroit’s “restructuring counsel” in March.  Jones Day partner Kevyn Orr was named Detroit’s emergency financial manager in March.  (Or maybe by then he was a former partner? Attorney Orr resigned from the firm sometime in March.)  Different media reports give different dates;  and from this many miles away, it’s impossible to figure out what happened in what order.

And then there’s the law firm.

I’m human; I can’t help but sometimes judge a law firm by its clients.  And Jones Day’s client list includes Koch Industries, as well as Mitt Romney’s old firm, Bain Capital.

And then there’s the lawsuit, filed by Jones Day lawyers, challenging a ban on political contributions by foreign sources (including foreign corporations).  And then there’s the lawsuit, filed by Jones Day lawyers not long before last year’s election, challenging an Obama administration regulation regarding insurance coverage.   (Also can’t help but wonder at all the work this law firm is apparently doing for free!)

And then there’s the attorney.

According to his official bio, Attorney Orr worked for the FDIC’s Resolution Trust Corporation in the 1990s; and while there, his duties included “serving as the agency’s chief lawyer responsible for the agency’s participation in the Whitewater investigation.”  Yeah, you read that right: the Whitewater investigation.

Starting to think that maybe there’s politics involved here, somehow?

And then there’s the Governor.

Last December was a busy month for Gov. Rick Snyder.  Not only did he push through a new emergency manager law, to replace the one rescinded by voters, he also pushed through a Right to Work bill.  Read “GOP, Koch Brothers Sneak Attack Guts Labor Rights in Michigan” here.  (Yes, there’s the Koch brothers, again.)  He was so effective at pushing stuff through the Legislature that the Washington Post named him “The Scott Walker of 2014”.

And… oh, dear:  is there really a Rick Snyder for President Facebook page?

Got a headache yet?

The big trouble here is, whatever happens with Detroit – with its very expensive law firm, with its history of highly-political cases…

whatever happens in Detroit will set a legal precedent for other politicians and other employers who may want to relieve themselves of their obligations to public workers. Yesterday’s USA Today even has an interactive graphic; read “Detroit not alone under crushing pension obligations” here.

So… you think you’ve got retirement benefits? Think again.

That Ice Miller report has a state-by-state breakdown of the requirements to go through the Chapter 9 bankruptcy process.   Including a note that, when the report was published, Michigan didn’t have any law authorizing a municipality to declare bankruptcy.  Which it didn’t, until Governor Snyder and the Republican-led Legislature pushed through “The Local Financial Stability and Choice Act” last December… just days after pushing through the Right to Work bill.

If it’s happening in Detroit, it can happen almost anywhere.

Stop Closing Post Offices Until You Solve Their Pre-Funding Problems

APWU Logo (small)

I wanted to share with you all a very special call to action from some American Postal Workers Union local 300 in Michigan.  They are in the process of closing down plants to solve their phony bankruptcy problems.   We all know the truth is the problem Congress created when they mandated that the USPS pre-fund their retirement system.

This hits very close to home as they have already closed the Portsmouth NH plant and are talking of closing more plants.

So before they close this processing plant for good, take a moment to read their story below and listen to the APWU Local 300 President explain whats happening in this short 30 second clip.  Then send a message to you Congressional Reps and ask them to stop this consolidation until a legislative solution is created.

Be sure to forward this to anyone you know in Michigan so they can call their Reps too. 

POST OFFICE NEWS REPORT.MP3

 
Central Michigan Area Local 300
 American Postal Workers Union, AFL-CIO
PO Box 21154
Lansing, MI 48909-1154

Dear fellow Union Brother and Sisters,

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in the process of relocating Lansing’s Mail Processing operations to Grand Rapids, and to the Pontiac Metroplex Processing Centers. This means that we would loss 200 to as many as 400 jobs right here in the Mid-Michigan region. It will also delay the mail by up to 3 days for your local mail to get delivered.

This does not have to happen, nor do we need to lose any more good paying jobs right here in the Lansing area.

So I respectful ask for your support in contacting Senators’ Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, as well as, Congressman Mike Rogers. Tell them we need their support in keeping jobs here in Lansing, and to halt the consolidation until Congress can address the Legislation that plagues the USPS finances.

Feel free to contact me @ cmalprez300@yahoo.com or 517-528-9980, if you have any questions,

In Solidarity,

Jesus Gonzales, President

Central Michigan Area Local 300

*   *   *   *   *   *

UPDATED Per requests.
Sen Carl Levin’s phone number DC office (202) 224-6221

Sen Debbie Stabenow DC office phone (202) 224-4822

Find you state Congressional Reps to contact them

Sad Day In Michigan: A message from AFL-CIO President Trumka

From @KTUERK on Twitter

From @KTUERK on Twitter

Statement by AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka
On Passage of Michigan ‘Right-to-Work’ Law
December 11, 2012

Gov. Snyder showed his true colors today: He’s a puppet of extreme donors, and he is willing to ignore and lie to his constituents. His action will undoubtedly please the Koch Brothers and corporate CEOs, but it will diminish the voice of every working man and woman in Michigan.

To make ‘right-to-work’ a reality, Governor Rick Snyder ignored working Michiganders, the faith and civil rights community, President Obama, people in his own party, autoworkers, nurses, teachers, firefighters, the Detroit Free Press editorial board and voters. He listened to Grover Norquist, Dick DeVos, the Koch brothers and the extremes of his party. In Gov. Snyder’s office, they might call that political reality. On Main Street, we call it a sham of democracy.

The so-called ‘right to work’ laws have never fostered employment, but they do bring out the worst kind of divisiveness. Gov. Snyder knows this is true. He publicly acknowledged this reality for years, and yet ultimately he chose to ignore it and embrace extreme politics under the guise of a job creation agenda.

But working people are resilient – and just like we’ve patiently worked together to rebuild after the Great Recession, we will continue to come together to say ‘no’ to overreach and to oppose this radical governor and state legislature. And we will continue to work for policies to put America back on track with good jobs and shared prosperity, because working people have always been the solution, not the problem.

Right To Work (for less) Does Not Create Jobs, Look At This Oklahoma Video

Fred Morgan Oklahoma

Ever state since 2001 that has tried to push Right To Work for less legislation has said, ‘look what it did in Oklahoma’.

The proof is in the pudding as they say.  In this short video, Fred Morgan a former Oklahoma Legislator cannot name one company who has moved to Oklahoma because of their newly enacted Right To Work (for less) law.

Just one more example of the continual lies that are surrounding Right To Work for less.

  • Right To Work does not create jobs
  • Right To Work does lower workers pay
  • Right To Work weakens collective bargaining
  • Right To Work mean workers are less likely to get healthcare or retirement benefits.

Right to Work is the right to work for less. 


USW Calls on Mich. Gov. Snyder to Veto Right-to-Work-for-Less

Michigan working families deserve state ballot vote for their economic future 

Pittsburgh (Dec. 11) – President Leo W. Gerard of the United Steelworkers (USW) issued the following statement  today in an appeal to common sense economics over politics as a Michigan lame-duck legislative session by Republicans rams through a ‘right-to-work-for-less’ bill for a promised signature by Gov. Rick Snyder.

“The USW active and retired members join other unions and allies in Michigan and across the nation to call on Gov. Snyder to support the proposal of the state’s Democratic congressional delegation. We ask the Governor to use his veto power to stop this unnecessary and divisive right-to-work bill.

“If the Governor feels this bill will move Michigan forward, he should delay the final legislative votes and allow an amendment that would put this issue before the public as a state ballot initiative.  We urge Governor Snyder to delay his signing of the bill. Let the people of Michigan debate and vote on a consequential matter that will affect all working families.

“We know the newly-elected Michigan state legislature convening early next year has added Democrats that would reject a right-to-work-for-less bill. Right-to-work is only supported by millionaires and billionaires who profit by taking more money out of the workers’ pockets.

“The USW applauds President Obama for his public statement yesterday in Detroit to do everything we can to keep good middle-class jobs that help workers rebuild security for their families. He said it straight and true. We shouldn’t be trying to take away workers’ rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions. The so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws don’t have much to do with economics — they have everything to do with politics.

“Hear our voices outside the Lansing State Capitol. Hear the voice of President Obama who said: We don’t want a race to the bottom. We want a race to the top.”

 

The USW is a North American union representing 850,000 workers in the manufacturing, mining, energy and service sectors. For more information: www.usw.org.

Right To Work In Michigan: Democracy At Its Worst

Right To Work Michigan

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Have you been reading about what has been happening in Michigan? 

Well just in case you have been unplugged from any social media for the last day let me explain.  A few days ago reports started to surface that the Republican led Legislature in Michigan were going to use their own ‘lame duck’ session to push a Right To Work for less bill.   Turns out the reports were all true.

The legislature and Governor Snyder knew there would be huge protests if they pushed Right To Work in Michigan.  Amid huge protests RTW was unveiled in the MI House.  The Detroit Free Press reported

“The goal isn’t to divide Michigan. It is to bring Michigan together,” the governor said, as hundreds of union protesters stormed the Capitol and the governor’s office, vociferously voicing their opposition to the plan.”

We all know this is a crock.  The goal of right to work is to lower wages and make it easier for companies to break labor unions down.

The day was moved on like a live action horror movie, directed by Americans for Prosperity and ALEC.  Even the Koch Brothers could not keep their hands out of this. The Koch funded group American For Prosperity, had members lined up in front of the State House in Lansing.

“Michigan passage of right-to-work legislation will be the shot heard around the world for workplace freedom,” AFP said in a press release Thursday.

Even though Right To Work has nothing to do with ‘freedom’.

“In the wake of this legislation, the only ‘freedom’ gained for Michigan workers will be the freedom to make less, the freedom to be disrespected at work, the freedom to struggle to pay their bills and the freedom to be left out of the American dream.
Working Michigan statement 12-6-12

Democratic lawmakers walk out in protest
via UAW http://on.fb.me/TIQvmR

Protesters filled the capitol in Lansing and began chanting. Watch the video from the UAW.  At one point they were told to leave the capitol building and the police began using pepper spray on protesters.  The protests outside became even louder as people began chanting ‘Let us in’ (VIDEO).  However in a strong move by Democrats in the Michigan Legislature, they walked out.  They would not return until the people of Michigan would be allowed to return.

It would not take long for the MI House to pass the RTW bill.

As all of this was happening, President Obama issued a statement on the proposed RTW bill in Michigan.

“President Obama has long opposed so-called ‘right to work’ laws and he continues to oppose them now,” said White House spokesperson Matt Lehrich. “The President believes our economy is stronger when workers get good wages and good benefits, and he opposes attempts to roll back their rights. Michigan – and its workers’ role in the revival of the US automobile industry – is a prime example of how unions have helped build a strong middle class and a strong American economy.”

Even the Presidents strong words would have no effect on the GOP assault on Michigan working families.  The Michigan Senate began pushing their version of the MI Right To Work for less bill.  Of course it passed 22-16.  The only catch is that due to legislative laws in Michigan a bill has sit for five days before it can be moved from the Senate to the House.  Then all legislators would have to do is combine the two different bills and send it to the Governor.

This is a sad day for Michigan and the hard working people who live there.  Working Michigan, a broad coalition of faith, labor and community organizations released a statement (full below).

“The legislation passed tonight is nothing short of an attack on the middle class in Michigan by Republican leadership and their corporate CEO funders.  This is a divisive law that will hurt our state by driving wages down and pitting workers against each other.”

After the ‘auto bailout’ and the revival of the big three in Michigan lawmakers chose to repay these workers with a giant slap in the face.  Their unity and dedication help revive Michigan and helped preserve over one million jobs.   The only hope Michigan has now is that over the next five days the Governor comes to his senses and veto’s this bill.  Though it is not very likely.

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Michigan Republicans vote to unravel the state’s middle class, flatten wages and crush workers’ rights

12/07/12

LANSING, Mich. – In  devastating blow to the middle class in Michigan, Republicans, bankrolled by wealthy, corporate CEOs, passed anti-worker legislation tonight which promises to flatten wages and crush workers’ rights. Following the Republicans’ destructive vote, Working Michigan, a broad coalition of faith, labor and community organizations issued the following statement:

“The legislation passed tonight is nothing short of an attack on the middle class in Michigan by Republican leadership and their corporate CEO funders.  This is a divisive law that will hurt our state by driving wages down and pitting workers against each other.

“Study after study has demonstrated the devastating effects of this sort of legislation: Workers in ‘right-to-work’ states make $1,500 less per year, meanwhile the growth rate for ‘right-to-work’ states actually drops after legislation of this sort is enacted. Dressing the legislation up with benign sounding phrases like ‘workplace freedom,’ Michiganders understand what’s at stake here and will hold them accountable.

“In the wake of this legislation, the only ‘freedom’ gained for Michigan workers will be the freedom to make less, the freedom to be disrespected at work, the freedom to struggle to pay their bills and the freedom to be left out of the American dream. This bill is a blatant attempt by the richest in Michigan to silence the voices of working families in our democracy, build their own power, and make the growing gap between the rich and everyone else even bigger.

“Should Snyder sign this legislation, he will join a list of other governors – John Kasich, Scott Walker, and others – who have signed over the future of their respective states to big corporations and CEOs, making a decision to leave working families behind. Regardless of what might happen, working people have made it clear they will continue to fight for our vision of a better, stronger Michigan and work to hold elected leaders accountable.”

Michigan Tries To Sneak A Right To Work For Less Bill Through

Right To Work 2

Let me be one of the first to welcome the State of Michigan to the hell I have been living in for the last two years.  The Michigan Legislature just proposed a Right To Work (for less) bill into their legislature.

If you follow the NH Labor News you already know that we are adamantly against any form of Right To Work for less.  We have been fighting against multiple forms of Right To Work and reductions in our collective bargaining rights.  These attacks on our collective bargaining in NH were mostly due to the extreme right wing legislators and their leaders Speaker Bill O’Brien.

Michigan and New Hampshire are nearly identical in public opinion of Right To Work (for less) and collective bargaining.

From Detroit Free Press: “With the election behind us, Lake Research Partners found that voters are overwhelmingly ready for politicians in Lansing to get to work creating jobs and improving education, not changing rules about unions or collective bargaining (83 percent agree, 64 percent strongly agree). The same poll shows that a strong majority of Michigan voters (70 percent) continues to support the right of workers to organize and bargain collectively over wages, benefits, and working conditions, including a majority (55 percent) of those who voted No on Proposal 2.”

This Right To Work proposal seems very strange, given the large number of union workers in Michigan.  The economy in Michigan was completely turned around by the recovery of the American auto industry.   Why would they want to go after the same people that helped to rebuild Michigan’s economy over the last three years?

Here are the facts:

Right To Work for less does not create jobs.

Contrary to what the right wing media may be telling you,  Right To Work has never been proven to create jobs.

Right To Work laws lower wages.

This is a proven fact that people in RTW states make on average $1,500 a year less. They are also less likely to receive healthcare benefits or retirement options.

Right To Work is an attack on collective bargaining.

RTW laws have one real purpose, ‘to weaken the unions’.  They know that if they can somehow weaken the unions workers will have less say in the workplace. They will have less say in their pay, benefits, and overall working conditions.

Right To Work states rank lower in education.

In New Hampshire, the statistics are astounding that Right To Works states fail in comparison on reading levels, math levels, and early childhood education.

Do not be fooled by the right wing media that might be saying that Right To Work is a matter of freedom or way to create jobs, they are lies.

Working America and the AFL-CIO are working to ensure that Michigan does not try to sneak this Right To Work (for less) bill through the legislature in their own ‘lame duck’ session.

If you are in Michigan take one minute and sign this letter to the MI Senate Majority Leader Richardville and tell him to stop the attacks on workers by opposing this so called Right to Work bill.

If you are not a resident of Michigan you can still help.  Use you twitter account to send a message to Sen Richardville.  Click To Tweet to @SenRichardville

How To Win Against The TEA Party

In New Hampshire as with many other state the TEA Party became a huge player in the 2010 elections.  Now many of them are elected leaders in our legislature. I know more that a few Granite Staters who wish they had known more about the TEA Party and their extreme agenda before they voted.

In our fast paced world, media clips are 30 seconds long, and soundbites win elections.  If you cannot get you point across in 30 seconds then it tends to fall on deaf ears.  (HEY I AM STILL TALKING HERE.) So with this knowledge major communicators have been shaping the messages to have the most impact in the least amount of time.  Just look at twitter for example.  A Tweet is 140 characters and yet it is one of most effective places to gather information.

I would like to share will you a short video of how a group of very smart and sassy individuals in Troy Michigan, fought back against the TEA Party message with some very creative ideas.

The story of the Troy Library.