Raise the Wage: College Costs

Another Reason to Raise the Wage!

Article: The Myth of Working Your Way Through College

Thank you Tricia McTague for finding this article. If you want to collect signatures over the next few days, contact Bo Bradarich: bobrad@umich.edu, 847-894-6751 or Trellis Mercer: trellis@miunited.org, 734-277-4549.

We have petitions for you! #RaisetheWage


President Barack Obama to visit Ann Arbor next week in support of increased minimum wage

 Raise the Wage

Obama will be here Wednesday! Come one, come all! Please contact Trellis Mercer from Michigan United to volunteer to petition at the Obama event. Trellis’ Contact info: 734-834-0660 or trellis@miunited.org

This is huge for the campaign. We hope to see everyone out there, and collect those signatures! Go Blue!

MLive LINK: President Barack Obama to visit Ann Arbor next week in support of increased minimum wage


Good Jobs For All Collaborative Conference

The WCAT Presents: Good Jobs For All

Co-Support: Good Jobs Now, Michigan United, and the Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition (WeROC)

Date/Time: Wednesday March 26th from 4:00-6:00 pm

Location: Eastern Michigan University’s Halle Library Room 300

Description: The Good Jobs For All conference will cover three main topics: The Raise the Wage Campaign, AATA Millage Increase, and Working America. The point of this conference is to unify the efforts of the four participating organizations, provide participants with quality information about working struggles/movements, educate them on how to get involved, and encourage both the faculty and student body to become leaders within their community.

Raise The (Minimum) Wage: Launched by Michigan United, this ballot initiative strives to gradually raise the minimum wage in the state of Michigan from $7.40/hr to $10.10/hr by 2017. This will also raise the minimum rate for tipped employees 85 cents per year until it reaches parity with the regular minimum wage. The current minimum rate for tipped employees is $2.65/hr. If successful, this initiative could potentially increase the wage of over 1,000,000 people and pull over 350,000 people out of poverty. The WCAT is partnering with Michigan United on this campaign.

Good Jobs Now is also working towards raising the minimum wage. Their work mostly focuses on fat-cat, corporate employers like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Subway. They do a ton of work in other areas as well and will gladly share all of this at the conference on Wednesday.

AATA Millage Increase: With the slogan “More Buses, More Places, More Often,” WeROC recently jump-started their own ballot initiative to increase the millage for the Ann Arbor Transit Authority (public transportation). This means that, with a slight tax increase, the AATA will reach more areas in Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township, and Ann Arbor more often. WeROC will come ready with a diagram that shows all of the additions that will be made. Not only will this increase the number of jobs in these areas, but it will also get people to their jobs faster and more efficiently. It is for this very reason we included them in this conference; this is definitely a working interest.

Working America: Working America is a national labor organization that aims to educate, assist, and mobilize working Americans to improve their working conditions, job security, and health care. The WCAT is a local hub for Working America where people can come every two weeks to talk about their working challenges or challenges they’ve heard and possible responses to take. The goal is to run a number of campaigns, like the Raise the Wage Campaign, that consistently fight for the integrity, equality, and protection of the working people.

There will be FREE FOOD and a T-Shirt give-away at the end of the conference. We hope to see all of you there!

Washtenaw Community Action Team 2012 Ballot Proposal Guide

UPDATE: If you want to help with one very important ballot proposals on the list below, Proposal 2, Protect Working Families is making a huge canvassing push this weekend in Michigan. Please contact Michael at 734-707-9069 if you’re interested.

Washtenaw Community Action Team Values:

  • Democratic participation
  • Fair compensation and respect for workers
  • Racial and gender equality
  • Quality and accessible resources for communities
  • Clean air and environmental sustainability

Positions on Proposals

Proposal 1 – Emergency Manager Law

Authorizes the Governor to appoint an unelected Emergency Manager to make all decisions in financially distressed communities or school districts. The appointed Emergency Manager would have the power to void or change contracts, sell assets, and essentially dismiss local elected officials or school boards. This measure would eliminate accountability and a basic democratic right — the right to vote for elected officials.

Proposal 2 – Collective Bargaining

Guarantees the right of all workers to join a union and collectively bargain with public and private employers regarding wages, hours, working conditions, and other terms of employment without interference from the legislature.

Proposal 3 – Standard for Renewable Energy

Requires utilities to obtain at least 25% of electricity from renewable sources by 2025. Limits consumer rate increases of renewable-related costs to no more than 1% per year and creates incentives to employ Michigan workers and equipment, leading to thousands of new jobs.

Proposal 4 – Home Health Care Workers

Establishes the Michigan Quality Home Care Council to register, perform background checks, and provide standards and training for home health-care providers. Ensures that seniors and people with disabilities have an affordable, safe choice of living at home, and ensures collective bargaining rights for home health-care workers.

Proposal 5 – Supermajority Tax Vote

Would amend the constitution to require a 2/3 majority vote of the legislature, or a statewide vote of the people at a November election, to impose new or additional taxes, expand the base of taxation, or increase the tax rate. A minority of just 13 state senators could stop any tax legislation. No tax increase would ever be passed again, leading to less funds for schools, universities, fire departments, libraries, and other vital community resources.

Proposal 6 – Building New International Bridges

Would require a statewide vote on building a new bridge in Detroit. This proposal is being funded and pushed by the private company that owns the current bridge and wants to hold onto their monopoly. A new bridge is needed to handle the huge volume of truck traffic. Southwest Detroit residents want a new bridge to reduce the truck traffic through their community and the noise, air pollution, and lung problems it causes.

Adopted from the American Federation of Teachers of Michigan Ballot Proposal Guide
By the Washtenaw Community Action Team – http://www.washtenawcat.org

The Decline of Collective Bargaining and the Growth of Income Inequality in Michigan

Last week, the Economic Policy Institute released a report on the decline of collective bargaining and the growth of income inequality in Michigan. They also produced this video to summarize the findings:

Want to know how you can help? One way is to get involved with the Protect Working Families campaign to protect collective bargaining in Michigan.

Protect Working Families Needs Your Help!

The Protect Working Families campaign is working on a crucial ballot initiative (Proposal 2) that will amend the Michigan constitution so that collective bargaining becomes a fundamental right in the state. Protect Working Families needs people to canvass neighborhoods, enter data, as well as write letters to the editor of newspapers. To get involved, sign up on the Protect Working Families Volunteer page.

There are several important proposals on Michigan’s 2012 ballot, including Proposal 1, which refers to the PA4, the Emergency Manager Law. Vote No on Proposal 1 and Yes on Proposal 2!
Michigan Ballot Initiatives
(Image via Michigan Rising.)

WCAT’s International and National Labor Solidarity

WCAT members joined a solidarity rally outside GM’s Renaissance Center in Detroit, to support workers who were fired from General Motors’ plant in Colombia after suffering workplace injuries. For more information on the workers’ case, see their website: astrecol.com

WCAT members also expressed their solidarity with the Chicago Teachers Union in their fight for better public schools:

Protest at GM Headquarters, Monday 9/17, 4pm

Former GM worker Jorge Parra was one of several hundred workers who were fired from General Motors’ plant in Colombia after suffering workplace injuries. Join him outside GM headquarters to demand that GM
rehire the workers and provide medical full compensation. Jorge and his fellow workers have been on hunger strike since September 3rd, and several workers have sewn their mouths shut in protest. Jorge may be sewing his mouth shut at Monday’s protest. Please come, he desperately needs our solidarity and support!Image

    Date: Monday, Sept. 17th, 4pm
    Location: GM Headquarters, 300 Renaissance Center  Detroit, MI
    Invite Friends on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/444023235640667/
    For carpooling contact Kevin at kyoung1984 [at] gmail.com

Eviction & Foreclosure Defense meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 29th

Are you being threatened with eviction or foreclosure? Do you know someone who is? Do you want to help people who are?
Join the monthly meeting of the WASHTENAW EVICTION & FORECLOSURE DEFENSE group:
at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 218 N. Adams Street in Ypsilanti
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss homeowners and renters’ rights and how we can organize to defend them. We provide a space where community members facing eviction or foreclosure can come to talk about their problems and work with others to defend their rights. We connect people to free legal aid services and also discuss direct action and other strategies for keeping people in their homes. All members of the public are invited to attend.
Washtenaw Eviction & Foreclosure Defense (WEFD)
(734) 707-1933

Emergency Demonstration to Support GM Workers on Hunger Strike in Colombia

Emergency Demonstration: GM Colombia Workers Waging To-The-Death Hunger Strike

When: 4:00pm, Wednesday, August 15th, 2012
Where: GM Headquarters
300 Renaissance Center
Detroit, MI 48243

Five members of ASOTRECOL, the Association of Injured and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colombia, launched a hunger strike on Wednesday, August 1st outside the U.S. embassy in Colombia to demand that GM justly compensate, provide medical care, and reintegrate workers that were fired upon suffering work-related injuries,and recognize ASOTRECOL as a union. Four more members joined on day eight. As proof of their commitment, the workers have sewn their mouths shut and plan to carry out the hunger strike to the death.

Since August 2011, the workers have lived in tents in front of the U.S. embassy in Bogotá to voice their demands. ASOTRECOL’s struggle reflects the failure of the 2011 Labor Action Plan to defend workers’ rights—a $2 million program paid for by U.S. taxpayers and a condition of the free-trade agreement between the United States and Colombia. By ignoring ASOTRECOL’s demands for justice, General Motors and the U.S. government perpetuate the violent conditions that make Colombia the most dangerous country in the world for labor organizers. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) documented 29 trade unionist murders, 10 attempted murders, and 342 death threats in 2011. Private security firms have harassed and surveilled ASOTRECOL.

The hunger strike of ASOTRECOL is a struggle to defend the right of all disabled and able-bodied workers to collective bargaining, safe working conditions, and medical compensation.

For more info: www.asotrecol.com

Endorsed by: Washtenaw Community Action Team, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, Moratorium Now!, Coalition to Stop Foreclosures, Evictions, and Utility Shutoffs, Organization for a Free Society.