From the UP to Detroit, Marquette to Down River, Benton Harbor to Flint, Black, white or brown, Michiganders want the same thing: a good job with livable wage and benefits, so we can support our families, take care of our health, and plan for our futures. Throughout our state’s history, working people have brought us closer to this vision through collective action and by uniting in strong unions.
But for decades, greedy corporations and the politicians who protect their interests have used their position to pass racist anti-worker laws that limit working people’s rights to stand up for ourselves, hurt our communities, and make the rich even richer. SEIU Michigan members joined with voters across our state to elect a new legislative majority — new leaders who campaigned on an agenda of building a Michigan where working families, not just the wealthy and well-connected, can thrive. Now, we expect those leaders to take big, bold action to level the playing field so that working people, whatever our race, job title, or zip code, can join together in strong unions and win good jobs, safe and fair workplaces, and healthy, thriving communities.
In the 2023 legislative session, Michigan’s service and care workers are counting on our elected leaders to use their governing authority to support and fight for the following priorities:
Restore Workers’ Rights Laws to Create Better Jobs, Strong Communities
- Joining together–across our differences–in unions gives working people the power to stand up for ourselves and negotiate for higher quality jobs. But misnamed restrictions have limited our freedom to join together to win the safety, pay, and respect we all deserve.
- Michigan’s leaders should support working families by restoring our rights to win good jobs with livable wages and benefits, safer workplaces and ensuring every worker has a real say in decisions that shape our lives, no matter our job title, race, or zip code.
Local Control for Our Communities—End Preemption on Terms of Employment
- Existing preemption laws, embedded in a racist history, have been used as a weapon to interfere with local governments’ ability to set strong labor standards that would improve the lives of Black and brown people, women, immigrants, and workers paid low wages.
- Leaders in Lansing must act to overturn preemption laws that hold back local progress and return power to our communities to let us decide what is best for us–so that workers, our families, and our neighborhoods can not only survive, but thrive.
Quality Jobs and Quality Care in Nursing Homes—Support Structural Industry-wide Solutions
- The crisis in Michigan nursing homes, which has been decades in the making, is nearing a breaking point. Nursing home workers–mostly women and disproportionately women of color– have been worn down by years of being overworked, underpaid, and understaffed. They are calling for bold changes and investment to improve quality care for residents and retain and recruit workers, ensuring they are respected, protected and paid fairly.
- Workers and high-road nursing home owner-operators have agreed on a shared agenda, with the following necessary steps to transform the industry in the long-term:
- New funding and reimbursement processes tied to accountability to ensure resources reach the workers and residents they’re meant for—and support good union jobs, better wages and benefits, and safer staffing; not corporate profits
- Invest in Workforce Development– fund models where labor and management work in partnership to create training and services needed for a sustainable future
- Expand and fully fund the existing $2.35 wage pass through to include ALL nursing home workers, including essential support staff like housekeeping and dietary aides
- Medication aide bill–A bipartisan step to relieve some pressure off the nurse staffing crisis and create a career ladder for workers, with better wages and training.
Respect and Support Home Care Workers
- Every day, tens of thousands of home care workers provide skilled, compassionate care that allows our aging loved ones and people with disabilities to live in their own homes with dignity. Yet in Michigan, home care workers were stripped of their rights to organize and join together in a union, resulting in lower wages, poorer working conditions and greater instability.
- Now, as our population ages rapidly and the need for home care grows, we must support these essential workers having the freedom to join together and raise standards industry wide–so that every person can count on dependable, quality care.
Remove Barriers for School Workers’ to Build Collective Power—Restore Voluntary Dues Deduction
- From the custodians who keep facilities safe and clean for students and teachers to the staff charged with improving student attendance and feeding our children, school workers deserve the right to freely come together in union, to have their choices honored, without any interference.