Unions Upset Over Budget Proposal

By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
By: Meaghan M. Norman Email
Some union leaders say they are tired of having their members targeted and want more practical budget solutions.

Democratic Wisconsin Assembly members cheer on the fourth day of large scale protests at the State Capitol in Madison, Wis., Friday, Feb. 18, 2011. The Wisconsin State Patrol was dispatched Friday to find a Democratic state senator who fled the Capitol to delay the near-certain passage of a bill to end a half-century of collective bargaining rights for public workers, a measure that's attracted thousands of protesters for four days. (AP Photo/Andy Manis)

Some union leaders say it might be just a matter of time before Michigan looks like Wisconsin.

"What we're seeing in the legislature is the same assault on workers that's being done in Wisconsin," said AFL-CIO Michigan President Mark Gaffney.

Gaffney along with David Hecker, president of the Michigan American Federation of Teachers believe that Governor Rick Snyder's budget proposal is lopsided.

"Taxes are cut on business, increased for low income, increased for the middle class -- increase for seniors and everything Michigan depends on are cut," said Hecker.

They say the budget reflects a Republican agenda which lacks a progressiveness needed to push Michigan's economy forward.

"The labor movement is about problem solving about finding solutions to what we all recognize to be very real problems," said Hecker.

But some lawmakers say the Governor's intention was a shared sacrifice and a realistic, non-partisan view of the troubling financial situation.

"I don't think it's a union or Republican agenda," said Rep. Paul Opsommer (R) DeWitt. "It's an honest, bare-bones, money budget issue and has to be put forward. The governor was very honest with people."

But union leaders believe Wisconsin Governor Walker's anti-union budget bill rings too close to home.

"Where we draw the line is the same place they do in Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana --- it's the assault on the Collective Bargaining Rights."

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  • by Anonymous on Feb 23, 2011 at 03:48 PM
    If we do not make the state more freindly to companies that create jobs, why live in michigan.
  • by DKH Location: Lansing on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:48 AM
    I have a great idea! Listen to me when I vote! Make Marijauna legal, tax it like booze or cigs, take the money and take care of our OWN people! Red, Blue, Right or Left doesnt matter. Doesnt matter where you work or if you are union or not we are all in this together, we ALL pay taxes. Look at the Broke stuff first. Why are there people living off welfare but some familys and people cant get help that is needed and required? How much $ is being wasted on people using food stamps at GFS for lobster? or Pop? Or what about tax dollars feeding and housing inmates that murdered kids, people, rapest for years and years? Death penilty people!!! HELLO! Gov. Listen when we speak! We voted you in and we will vote you out! and give the next person a shot.
  • by Rob Location: Home on Feb 22, 2011 at 09:35 PM
    I Forgot to mention earlier that the other thing that many people seem to forget is that, not only do "For Profit Business" pay alot of the taxes that the Federal Government and the States collect they also provide JOBS. The kind of jobs that when taxes are withheld / paid they acually fund the Government. The Government jobs and many of the "Non-Profit" jobs are paid by taxes and the taxes from these jobs don't really help the tax base in the big picture. If you need extra cash in your household you don't hire your son to mow your own lawn, or hire your wife to babysit your kids, do you?
  • by Rob Location: Home on Feb 22, 2011 at 09:12 PM
    Bill in Lansing must not be as business man, or he would know that we pay the Michigan Business Tax (MBT) which is very complex and you typically pay this tax even if you have lost money that year, we pay real estate tax (or our landlord does if we lease), we pay personal property tax on all assests, even though we paid sales when we purchase them, we pay State and Federal unemployment tax and we have to match our employess FICA (penny for penny). Many of us have to pay annual license renewal fees to the State and Local Authorities. We have to keep up with ever change regulations imposed by MI-OSHA, the Labor Dept. the DNR / DEQ and various other agencies wether Federal, State or Local. I often wonder while I can't sleep worring about how I can keep my employees employed and my bills and taxes paid, am I doing enough for my goverment and the people they employee. Actually I think private for profit(?) business does and pays more then enough.
  • by Steven Location: Jackson on Feb 22, 2011 at 03:41 PM
    I'm disappointed that you don't want to post my initial entry.
  • by Steven Location: Jackson on Feb 22, 2011 at 02:46 PM
    On my previous posting - my reference to paying for benefits that we are not eligible for obviously refers to government workers.
  • by dave Location: mid-mich on Feb 22, 2011 at 06:57 AM
    Unions were a great concept in the begining, but not valid in these times,As like everything else we must evolve ,Q,.How in the world did teachers and state employees get to be unionized? This should have NEVER happend in the first place!!!They work for us, the people ,the tax payer! I still havent seen a teacher or state worker bust their behind or forced to work under adverce conditions!!! Everyone knows their over paid with bennies.. I know their not going to like this comment but, It's time to share the good with the bad! And now it's bad and ugly!You Go MR. Governor! If we end up like Wisconson "GREAT" I be their to protest against,unions, teachers,and gripping state employees! Yes I'm the tax payer,And the majority, working two jobs and no benifits, or health care at all! As for collective bargining,It's not a constitutional or civil right. So when the mich. tres. is broke,what are you going to bargin with then? To Mr. gov. hire me! I'll work for you for less pay and no bennies!
  • by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2011 at 06:38 AM
    When money gets tight, things get ugly! The only thing that’s going to get us out of this problem is GOOD PAYING JOB! Why is so hard for lawmakers to understand that? All this bull talk about we need to train our people to do something else, is BULL Michigan is a manufacturing state it has been for over a 100 years. Why can’t we get manufacturing plants here?
  • by Kelly Location: Lansing on Feb 22, 2011 at 02:53 AM
    The fact is that OUR employees are paid more than the private sector for the same work. OUR employees receive far superior benefits and pension plans than the private sector. OUR employees pay little to nothing towards those benefits and pensions. As their employ, we can no longer afford it. Their gravy train has come off the tracks. The few can no longer support the many.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 21, 2011 at 10:41 PM
    If unions were so good, why do they have a negative feel with so many americans?
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