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Home Care Blog

Home care workers across the state are taking action and sharing their stories through written blogs and videos. They’re talking about the work they do, why we need a strong union and the changes they’d like to see to the Home Help program.

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Statement by SEIU International Secretary-Treasurer Eliseo Medina Following Meeting with President Obama

For Immediate Release – Feb. 5, 2013

Contact: Beatriz.Lopez@seiu.org or Gebe.Martinez@seiu.org

“The president met with a representative group of our society including representatives of communities of color. It was very productive and of course, he reiterated his commitment to commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship for the 11 million immigrants now here without documents.

“While we were meeting with the president, the GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee held a hearing that tilted away from common sense solutions. It serves as a reminder that we have to remain watchful over the legislative process to make sure that voters learn who are the champions of reform and who are the ones who will try to obstruct the process.

“We have a lot of work to do between now and when the President signs a bill into law, but we are committed to making sure Congress approves reforms that include a reasonable and fair path to citizenship and that protect the rights of all workers.”

ACLU, Unions File Lawsuit to Invalidate Michigan’s Right-to-Work Law

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 31, 2013

CONTACT: Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan, at 734.417.8757 or kmoss@aclumich.org

LANSING, Mich. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and a coalition of labor unions asked a judge today to strike down the recently passed right-to-work law because it was enacted while the public was locked out of the Capitol in violation of the Open Meetings Act, the First Amendment, and the Michigan Constitution. The case, filed on behalf of a journalist, citizens, legislators, and unions, charges that government officials, in an unprecedented assault on democracy, deprived the public of their right to participate in the legislative process.

“Rushing controversial bills through a lame duck session is a bad way to make public policy under the best of circumstances; doing so on such important issues while the public is shut out of the debate every step of the way is illegal and shameful,” said Kary L. Moss, ACLU of Michigan executive director. “We have a sacred right to peacefully assemble and petition our government. When there is dissent and emotions are running high, our elected leaders should encourage more open debate, not close the doors to concerned voters.”

The lawsuit stems from the contentious events of Dec. 6, 2012, when the Michigan Capitol doors were locked to prevent additional people from coming to witness or engage their legislators while the controversial right-to-work bills were being debated on the House and Senate floors. The public, including some journalists, were locked out for more than four hours while legislators debated and voted on the bills. While individuals already in the Capitol could stay, people waiting outside were not allowed to enter. In addition, the galleries overlooking the House floor were intentionally packed with legislative staffers so that the public would not be allowed in.

“The role of citizen journalists in this age of media consolidation is more important than ever in bringing the news that’s not fit to print to our communities,” said Bonnie Bacqueroux, an instructor at Michigan State University School of Journalism and the co-founder of Lansing Online News, a community publication. “I was disappointed to find myself locked out of the Capitol and unable to report on this historic event. A vibrant and free media is vital to keeping government honest.”

According to the lawsuit, the lockout at the Capitol merely added to the legislators’ attempts to swiftly pass these bills with little public input. The bills were abruptly introduced during the last days of the lame-duck legislative session, already a period of diminished public accountability. Rather than allowing the bills to go through the standard committee hearing process where the public would have been invited to comment, the right-to-work language was introduced for the first time on the House and Senate floors on the same day the bills were passed.

As further evidence of the desire to prevent the public from holding their government accountable, the lawsuit also notes the appropriations provision that was added to make the legislation referendum-proof under the Michigan Constitution.

“By allowing state police to block citizens from entering the Capitol, Lansing politicians not only violated the basic American principles of open and transparent government, they also violated specific state and federal laws designed to protect the rights of citizens,” MEA President Steven Cook said. “We’re confident the courts will agree that the Legislature’s actions on the afternoon of Dec. 6 constituted a clear violation of the Open Meetings Act and should be invalidated.”

The lawsuit does not take issue with the substance of the right-to-work law, but rather with the illegal and undemocratic process used in enacting it.

“Regardless of how you feel about right-to-work laws, everyone has a stake in seeing that our government conducts business in a democratic and transparent way,” said Karla Swift, President of the Michigan State AFL-CIO. “Any law passed while citizens were locked out of their capitol building should be struck down.”

The lawsuit is being brought under the Open Meetings Act, a state law that was enacted to ensure that our government remains transparent and accountable to the public.  The Open Meetings Act provides that the laws and acts of a public body may be invalidated by a court when official meetings, deliberations, or votes are held in a place that was not open and accessible to the public.  In addition, the coalition alleges that the closure of the Capitol prevented citizens from exercising their First Amendment right to petition the government and their right under the Michigan Constitution to instruct their representatives.

In addition to Bucqueroux, the lawsuit was brought on behalf of Steve Cook and Rick Trainor, Sen. Rebekah Warren and Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Brandon Dillon, the Michigan Education Association (MEA), Michigan State AFL-CIO, Michigan Building & Construction Trades Council, and Change to Win.

The lawsuit was originally filed on Dec. 6, 2012 in order to reopen the Capitol doors. Today, attorneys with the ACLU of Michigan, MEA, UAW, and the law firms of White, Schneider, Young & Chiodini; Sachs Waldman; and Pitt McGehee Palmer Rivers & Golden filed an amended complaint seeking to invalidate the law. The case is currently before Ingham County Judge William E. Collette.

To read the complaint, go to: http://www.aclumich.org/sites/default/files/file/RTWcomplaint.pdf.

Deal to avert fiscal cliff provides tax cut for 98% of Americans

Solidarity Monday: WEAR RED TOMORROW

Workers from across Michigan and across the nation are gearing up for a Day of Action in Lansing on Tuesday. Tomorrow, you can show support for Michigan’s working families from wherever you are.

It’s very simple: Wear RED on Monday, December 10, to show your support for Michigan’s working families. Share this photo on your Facebook wall to let your friends and family know that you we’re all in this together.

Politicians backed by corporate special interests king Dick DeVos, and Governor Rick Snyder are plotting to destroy the state that labor built by pushing through this last minute so-called “Right to Work” legislation. The only thing it provides for is the eroding of workers’ power and voices in the workplace.

Show your friends and family that you stand in solidarity with Michigan’s working families, and against the anti-worker policies of Governor Snyder. Click here to share this photo on Facebook today and let your friends and family know why you will be wearing red on tomorrow.

Fired up!

Marge Faville,

Michigan State Council/President SEIU Healthcare Michigan

March against right-to-work this Tuesday in Lansing!

Dear Friend,

Thousands of workers from across Michigan and beyond will march to stand up for democracy at the State Capitol Building in Lansing on Tuesday, December 11thWe need you there.

Click here to let us know we can count on you.

This past Thursday, Republican legislators passed the worst anti-worker legislation Michigan has ever seen after workers were locked out of the Capitol for hours in the cold. On Tuesday, legislators will be back in Lansing to vote a final time on a Right to Work-for-less bill, which will destroy Michigan jobs and reduce our pay and benefits.

Governor Snyder has said he will sign this legislation if it gets to his desk.

For us, this isn’t about union workers or non-union workers; this is about the future of Michigan and ensuring that every family can have a shot at a better life through good paying jobs and access to vital services like education and healthcare.

We need you to join thousands of other activists as we make our voices heard and tell Michigan law-makers to oppose this anti-worker, anti-family legislation.

When:Tuesday, December 11, 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where:Lansing Center, 333 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing, Michigan

Click here for more information and to RSVP.

See you at the Capitol,

 

Marge Faville,

Michigan State Council/President SEIU Healthcare Michigan

Right-to-Work is Wrong for Michigan

Home Care Blog – Mary Parker

Home Care Blog – Patricia Jones-Benz

Home Care Blog – Shirley Deman

Home Care Blog – Kathleen Burger

I’m Judy Bullis, and I’m a Home Help provider in Clinton Township. I’ve been caring for my son since birth.

This home job that I have is my living. If I didn’t have it I couldn’t live. I pay my car payment and food with it. It means the world to me to have it. For my son, if this program is discontinued or cut, it would mean that I would have to put him in a group home. I don’t want that and neither does he.
I decided to get involved in the union because it’s the only way to get people in Lansing to pay attention to us. I’m
tired of them acting like home care isn’t a real job. Taking care of my son is a real job and we should be respected.

Home Care Blog – Connie Katt

I’m Connie Katt, and I’m a Home Help provider in Bay City.

I’ve been caring for daughter for 44 years. My daughter is very active socially so it’s better I can keep her at home where she can thrive. If she was in a group home somewhere she’d just be sitting there and she’d just be a number. Home care is better because we give one-on-one care and that improves longevity.

I got involved with the union because it’s like a support system for us. When there’s a strong base behind you, you can get more done. The union is there for all of us to make sure we get a fair chance. It’s up to us to get inolved.