Unions Ready for Election Fight

By: Katie Kim Email
By: Katie Kim Email

For Brian Fredline and GM workers of UAW Local 602, this Labor Day is better than the last.

"We went from one shift with an uncertain future to three shifts with maximum overtime," says Fredline.

But with Michigan's 13% unemployment rate, Fredline knows many laborers are out of work -- and that's nothing to celebrate.

"What's going to make America stronger is three words: jobs, jobs, jobs."

Fredline and other local union leaders now find themselves carrying a big responsibility.

"Unions are for working people," says Fredline. "That's what we do. We represent working people and we fight for working people."

And they're looking to elect politicians who will do the same. Local union leaders say they've already played a pivotal role in this election -- helping Democratic Candidate Virg Bernero overcome House Speaker Andy Dillon's 18-point lead to win the primary. And they believe this momentum will continue until November.

"Of course we cant match Rick Snyder in terms of money," says Ray Holman from UAW Local 6000. "But what the unions have, especially the UAW, is people. People on the ground, to knock on the doors, to make phone calls."

Holman says even though Bernero is significantly behind in the polls, the election will turn around.

"People underestimate the power of the unions," says Holman.

"Let's hope we elect politicans that will get jobs, and make next labor day a celebration of union, non-union, just workers," says Fredline. "And let's hope there's plenty of them."

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  • by Anonymous 3 Location: Jackson on Sep 7, 2010 at 09:58 PM
    And the people they unions stand behind could care less about jobs, they are all about share the wealth, and health care for all. which will end up costing more jobs when all of the insurance companies go under because no one will need them anymore with government run health care.
  • by Anonymous 3 Location: jackson on Sep 7, 2010 at 09:56 PM
    The unions are not as strong as they think! I work for a MAJOR telecommunications company in Lansing. I was told 2 months ago that I was going to be let go due to cutbacks. Ever since they told us employee's that they planned on cutting the jobs we have been on mandatory over time. What good is a union if they are not saving jobs? I think that the unions should stay out of politics, and start doing what they were meant to do. ( Save Jobs, and fight for equality and fair treatment of the people they represent. )
  • by Anonymous on Sep 7, 2010 at 09:06 AM
    Unions are so powerful in Michigan, they caused GM to tumble from being the biggest company in the world to almost disinteragating. Chrysler was taken over by a foreign company, stripped and discard. They are doing the same thing with Michigan government. Do we want a candidate that support any elected official.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 7, 2010 at 05:21 AM
    The unions should not back candidates, but back the company they represent. The union membership should be going toward buying stock in the company and not buy golf courses or company retreat to be used by the union elites. The three auto makers should have pushed that the union ownes so much stock.
  • by Dan Location: McWilliams on Sep 6, 2010 at 08:04 PM
    I appreciate the strong union movement in Michigan and what it's done for the people of our state. However, I question many of the positions the unions have been taking of late. Our state is approaching bankruptcy. We're really short on cash and we need to find savings. One of the major cost drivers is state employee compensation, which is about 20 percent higher than in neighboring states. Recently, the unions opposed rescinding the 3-percent pay raise that some state employees were scheduled to get even as other state employees were being laid off, and while many private sector employees were definitely being laid off. I like the proposals put forward by Business Leaders for Michigan, the state's business roundtable, to get the state budget under control The proposals are reasonable and commend them to your readers. http://www.michiganturnaroundplan.com.
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