Mar 12, 2010
Republicans and their allies continue to attack unions and the Democratic process
Why do Republicans hate the Democratic process and the working class so much?
Republicans can’t stop workers from legally joining a union by a majority vote, they can’t overturn it in court, so they are now trying the legislative route.
The rightwing, anti-union think tank the Mackinac Center and its newly formed Legal Foundation has been attacking 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 Mackinac Center, and their allies in the conservative media and in the Senate GOP caucus, think it’s somehow illegal for a group of workers to vote to form a union.
The Mackinac Center filed a lawsuit claming that because not everybody voted, the election is somehow invalid. That’s like saying elections are invalid simply because there is not a 100 percent turnout. The Michigan Court of Appeals rejected ridiculous claim, so while the case is under appeal, they turned to the Legislature where the anti-union Republicans were very receptive.
Sen. Mark Jansen, R-Grand Rapids, introduced Senate Bills 1178 and 1179 on Feb. 25, and they were referred to the Senate Families and Human Services Committee he chairs. SB 1178 would prohibit taking compulsory union dues from caregiver subsidies, and SB 1179 would prohibit the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) from recognizing a bargaining unit consisting of individuals who are not public employees. Sen. Nancy Cassis, R-Novi, introduced SB 1173 at the same time that almost mirrors SB 1179. That bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Howell.
Howell radio station WHMI carried a story on SB 1173 today with the headline, “Garcia Backs Legislation To Change Forced Unionization.” That’s like me saying I was forced to recognize George Bush as president even though I didn’t vote for him. A proper election was held to unionize, and the majority vote to unionize.
His co-sponsorship of SB 1173 is a little surprising when you consider he also co-sponsored SB 731 that would create the Michigan Quality Community Care Council. The Mackinac Center falsely claims it will strengthen the union. Among the things the bi-partisan 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.
The fact is the unionization of home-based childcare workers reflects the new realities of the workplace. It stems from policy decisions made in the 1990s requiring persons receiving welfare to work or get work training. That meant their children needed care which helped lead to the growth of home-based care. But until the union was established, those workers had no voice is being able to express their concerns about the system and operations.
Republicans are against any thing that gives workers a voice.