Feb 5, 2010

Newspaper enables partisan attack on bipartisan bill

Although I didn’t think it was possible, the Livingston County Daily Press & Argus has veered even farther to the right and gotten even more anti-union.

Over the last month or so, they have championed the cause of the rightwing think tank the Mackinac Center and its newly formed Legal Foundation; running stories and an editorial bashing the Child Care Providers Together Michigan union, a joint venture between United Auto Workers (UAW) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The paper and the Mackinac Center think it’s somehow illegal for a group of workers to vote to form a union.

As I have said on numerous occasions, there is nothing more Democratic in the workplace than a union, and the vote to form the union was 5,900 to 475. They are both, apparently, angry that the Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected their claim that because not everybody voted, the election is somehow invalid. Under their logic, only elections that have a 100 percent turnout should be certified.

Knowing how aggressively the newspaper’s management pursued any attempts at unionizing this paper like their fellow journalists were successfully able to do at the Observer and Eccentric part of the chain, this position is not at all surprising.

What’s really surprising is that the paper almost ignores what’s going on in Lansing, but it is all over any union-bashing story.

Now, the newspaper is again doing the bidding of the Mackinac Center and going after home health care workers who chose to unionize. The government saves millions of dollars keeping seniors out of expensive nursing homes and allowing them to spend their final days in their own homes, but they want to deny the people caring for them a decent wage and health benefits and training.

A story in Thursday’s edition featured Senate Bill 731 that would create the Michigan Quality Community Care Council. The Mackinac Center claims it will strengthen the union. That’s simply not true. The workers have already voted for a union, and the bill sets standards.

Among the things the bill would do is to form the Michigan Quality Community Care Council, and the council would be responsible for working to preserve consumer selection and self-direction of providers. According to the nonpartisan Senate Fiscal Agency, the council would also:

-- Provide support to providers through a variety of methods aimed at encouraging competence, achieving quality services for consumers, and improving provider retention through improved job satisfaction.
-- Protect the confidential status of information relating to consumers.
-- Assist consumers in deciding whom to employ to provide personal assistance services, how those services would be provided, and how long the employed provider would render them.
-- Develop recruitment and retention programs to expand the pool of available, qualified providers.
-- Provide or facilitate provider training and otherwise assist providers through the dissemination of information that assisted them to be successful in rendering personal assistance services to consumers.
-- Facilitate and coordinate advanced training for providers.

That sounds like pretty evil stuff.

The Senate votes on some 3,000 things a year, yet the paper is all over the anti-union stuff and ignores most of the rest. Why?

I have seen editorials in this newspaper on how the Legislature needs to stop partisan bickering and get things done and address the state's problems. SB 731 is one of those examples of bipartisanship. It is co-sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats. In fact, it’s con-sponsored by some of the most conservative and liberal members of the Senate.

It is sponsored by conservative Republican Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, the chair of the Committee on Senior Citizens and Veterans Affairs. It is co-sponsored by conservatives like Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell, and Sen. Bruce Patterson, R-Canton; as well as by some of the most liberal members of the Senate; like Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, and Sen. Gilda Jacobs, D-Huntington Woods.

Perhaps the funniest part of the article is where it claims “While these professionals are crucial, a deal through the state that unionized them — and a bill that would strengthen it — is creating ire among some taxpayers.”

Well, it turns out those taxpayers are the Mackinac Center and a teabagger group headed up by Wendy Day, a founder of the defunct anti-gay hate group known as LOVE (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) and a book-burner.

The teabagger group has a new name, calling itself “Common Sense in Government.” It follows the Bush Administration’s practice of calling something the exact opposite of what it real is, like the Clean Skies initiative or the Healthy Forests initiative.

The paper says the teabaggers are pushing robo-calls in the sponsors and co-sponsor's districts “urging constituents to protest the bill.” It’s unclear who is paying for those calls, but I’m sure it’s no grassroots effort.


brad said...

Kevin before you go APE on this link because its written by conservatives, read it and take it in. I especially liked the second full paragraph on the second page of the article. Enjoy. http://article.nationalreview.com/424065/michigans-blueprint-for-america/henry-payne

Communications guru said...

Sure, when you can tell me what this has to do with my post, and how the governor, any governr, is responsible for trade policy. A trade policy that led to the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs overseas and two of the state’s largest employers going into bankruptcy.