News Watch, Better Together, Money & More, Behind the Scenes

News Watch, Better Together, Money & More, Behind the Scenes

News Watch, Better Together, Money & More, Behind the Scenes 2560 1875 AEPC Health

It’s a Moment

February is Black History month, a recognition of the triumphs and adversities that are an indelible part our country’s history. Black history is also organized labor’s history. Progressive leaders such as Fredrick Douglass, A. Philip Randolph and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed that unions were the vehicle that would allow Black workers to achieve equality.

Throughout his life, Martin Luther King Jr spoke frequently on the importance of labor unions and against efforts to weaken them.  In 1961 MLK said:

“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, such as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining…. We demand this fraud be stopped.”

Michigan made history this week – history that would have undoubtedly made Martin Luther King Jr proud!

Historical Undo
Michigan’s repeal of the right-to-work law passed in 2013 took effect on Tuesday, making it the first state to do so in nearly sixty years. The 2013 right-to-work law allowed workers to opt out of paying dues to unions while still receiving the benefits of union representation. In economic terms the workers not paying dues are referred to as “free riders.” The Merriam Webster dictionary offers many unflattering synonyms for “free rider” such as mooch, leech, and parasite!

The 2013 right-to-work law resulted in a large cost to Michigan unions. According to the conservative Mackinac Center, unions lost around $50 million annually because workers opted out of paying union dues. Nonetheless, unions worked to provide the same level of service to its members and the free riders as well as undertake efforts to organize additional workers.

With the repeal of Michigan’s right-to-work law, workers in unionized workplaces can still elect not to join the union. However, they will be required to pay the union’s agency fee which is less than the full union dues.

Having a Moment
Michigan’s repeal of the 2013 right-to-work law is adding to the moment that unions are having nationally as their power and popularity rise. In 2023, hundreds of thousands of union workers went on strike, including auto workers, Hollywood actors and writers, as well as UPS and healthcare workers. The strikes resulted in significant economic, job security and other gains – like the UAW autoworkers’ wage of least 25% over the next four years and the Hollywood writers’ contract that offers better compensation and limits the use of artificial intelligence.

Union organizing is also having a moment. Workers outside of traditional union manufacturing, construction, and the public sector are organizing. Workers at  Starbucks, video game developers and even doctors have voted in favor of union representation! Last week, fast food workers in California announced that they will join a new union – a first of its kind for the industry!

Be sure to check out Better Together for more news on organized labor!


Happy Reading!

Suzanne Daniels

  • News Watch: rise in weight-loss drugs for youth, life saving vaccine under-used, & FDA approves 1st frostbite treatment.
  • Better Together: right-to-work laws hurt state economies, flight attendants seek new contract terms, & unions look to take on affordable housing.
  • Money & More: patients see prescription savings, erasing medical debt, and Medicare plans may cut freebies.
  • Behind the Scenes: including my personal favorite, These Women Were the Real Geniuses Behind the Iconic Tiffany Lamps!

Enjoy the weekend!

Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
AEPC President
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]

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