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From the President 4

Protecting the Rights of All Working People 5
Building Quality Infrastructure 8
Growing Vibrant Communities 11
Creating a Fair Economy 15
Protecting Our Voting Freedoms and Strengthening Our Democracy 18


From the President
n Michigan, we value our active and retired union
families, our freedom, members across Michigan. Our
and hard work. Working goal is to build power for
people are the backbone working people in Lansing and
of our state, and we deserve the communities all over the state.
freedom to negotiate together
for a fair return on our work so Moving forward, our platform
we can provide a better life for will guide all aspects of the state

 our families. labor federation’s organizing,
We need the legislative advocacy, and
power in But right now, elected officials electoral work. We will require
like Donald Trump, Rick Snyder, all candidates seeking our
numbers of Bill Schuette, and Brian Calley endorsement to affirm their
are rigging the rules of our support for these priorities –
unions more economy to favor their wealthy and our platform will help shape
than ever to corporate donors, and taking our legislative scorecard, which
away the freedoms people in will be used to educate our
fight for our unions have won for all of us. members about their
lawmakers’ voting records in
rights and elect It doesn’t have to be this way. Lansing.
We need the power in numbers
leaders who of unions more than ever to Michigan has so much great
will have our fight for our rights and elect work to be done: roads to be
leaders who will have our backs. paved, kids to be taught, and
backs. By standing together and energy to be generated. Now is
making our voices heard, we the time for all working people
can protect the things our to stand together so we can
families need and build a better build an economy that works for
Michigan for all of us: with everyone – not just the wealthy
better schools, better roads, and and powerful.
better jobs.

This policy platform outlines the

top economic and legislative
priorities of the Michigan AFL-
Ron Bieber

CIO and our 42 affiliates, which President

represent more than one million


Protecting the Rights of All
Working People
“Public employees and all working people deserve
the same freedom that wealthy CEOs have: the
freedom to negotiate a fair return on our work so
we can provide for our families and build stronger
—Lawrence A. Roehrig, President, AFSCME Council 25


THE PROBLEM work to remove these restrictions on collective
bargaining, and restore the freedom to pay union
All work has dignity and all working people have
dues and contribute to political action committees
rights. But right now billionaires and wealthy
through automatic payroll deduction.
corporations are rigging the rules of our economy
and taking away our freedom to negotiate together Repeal “right-to-work” laws that take away our
in union for things our families need, like: good- freedom to join together and negotiate for a fair
paying jobs, great schools, clean and safe return on our work. We should pass Fair Share
environments, and affordable health care. legislation for both public and private sector
workers, which would require all employees
Since 2011, Governor Rick Snyder and Republicans
covered under a collective bargaining unit to pay
in Lansing have passed countless laws like the
their fair share towards contract administration,
Emergency Manager Act and “right-to-work,” which
grievance processing, and other representational
were designed to take away rights from working
people. Now there are far too many people in
Michigan living paycheck to paycheck, working Ensure healthy and safe workplaces for all
unreliable hours, with few or no benefits, and working people. Michigan had 96,000 workplace-
without a secure retirement. related injuries and illnesses in 2015, and an
average penalty of just $763 for OSHA violations,
THE SOLUTION which ranks 48th-lowest in the country. Right now
In Michigan, families should always come first. there are just
Whether it’s a newborn baby, your elderly mom, or 56 OSHA

a spouse who’s sick, everyone knows being there inspectors in
and providing for your family isn’t optional. Michigan All working
who are
All working people should have a fair shot at the
responsible for people should
American dream, with the freedom to negotiate
enforcing workplace
together in union for better jobs with strong have a fair shot
health and safety laws
paychecks, good benefits, a secure retirement, and
more time to be with family. Because real freedom
that protect 4.2 at the
million workers in the
is about more than making a living – it’s also about
state. At the current American
having time to take a loved one to the doctor when
rate, it would take
they get sick, attend a parent-teacher conference dream, with
these 56 inspectors
for your kids, and retire in dignity.
51 years to inspect the freedom to
each work site in
OUR PRIORITIES Michigan just one negotiate
Guarantee our freedom to come together in time.
union to negotiate with our employers for strong
paychecks, good benefits, safe workplaces, and a Everyone deserves a
secure retirement. Since 2011, Governor Snyder safe place to work. It’s time for the federal
and corporate lobbyists have worked nonstop to government and the state of Michigan to make
take away rights from working people. We must workplace health and safety laws a top priority. We


should work to meet the standard established by It’s time for Michigan to restore the six weeks of
the International Labour Organization of one benefits that were cut by Governor Snyder, and fix
health and safety inspector per 10,000 workers, for the UIA by passing legislation that: prevents these
a total of 416 inspectors in Michigan. mistakes from happening again, fully repays victims
the money they are owed with interest, and creates
The legislature should also take action to combat stronger penalties for corporations that fail to pay
sexual harassment and sexual assault in the their unemployment taxes in a timely fashion.
workplace by passing legislation that requires
employers to provide training to prevent sexual Eliminate “phantom wages” in worker
harassment, and ensures survivors can access the compensation. Worker compensation laws were
counseling, advocacy, and medical support they created to help working people who get hurt or
need without unnecessary obstacles. become ill on the job so they can continue to
support their families. But in
Restore unemployment 2011, Governor Snyder and
benefit cuts and fix Republicans in the legislature
Michigan’s Unemployment passed Public Act 266, which
Insurance Agency. allows employers and their
Unemployment benefits exist insurance companies to
to help workers who have arbitrarily reduce worker
lost a job through no fault of compensation benefits by
their own continue to pay the amount of wages they
their bills and support their think the injured worker
families while they look for should be able to earn –
work. But in 2011, Governor regardless of whether they
Snyder and Lansing actually have the job or earn
Gov. Snyder cut six weeks of
Republicans passed the wages. The average
unemployment benefits for
legislation to take Michigan workers worker compensation benefit
unemployment benefits is just $416 a week, and the
away from working people, average duration of benefits is
reducing the maximum number of weeks of state 13 weeks. For seriously injured workers with
unemployment insurance benefits from 26 to 20 lifelong disabilities, the use of “Phantom Wages”
weeks. could eliminate their worker compensation
benefits altogether, and force them to rely on
Snyder’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA)
taxpayer-funded social services to survive.
also adopted a faulty computer system, which
falsely accused tens of thousands of people of We must pass legislation to change Michigan’s
committing unemployment fraud. The state worker compensation law to eliminate the ability of
garnished wages and seized income tax returns, employers and their insurance companies to use
forcing people into bankruptcy and tearing families “Phantom Wages” to cut injured worker benefits.


Building Quality Infrastructure
“Michigan families need good roads to take our
kids to school and get to work safely without
blowing a tire or busting an axle. It’s time to fix
the damn roads!”
—Patrick Devlin, Secretary-Treasurer, Michigan Building
and Construction Trades Council


Michigan is the state that put the
world on wheels. But after years of
neglect, we now have some of the
worst roads in the country. Governor
Snyder and Republicans in Lansing
passed a roads package that raised
taxes on working families and making
it more expensive to own a car, while
asking corporations to pay nothing.
Now our roads and bridges are more
dangerous than ever – costing
Michigan motorists $2.5 billion a year
in extra vehicle repairs and operating

Rebuilding our infrastructure will jumpstart our warranties, to protect taxpayers and ensure our
economy and create thousands of good-paying roads stay fixed.
jobs for working people right here in Michigan. We
We also need our governor to start working with
need real solutions to fix our crumbling roads and
Republicans and Democrats from Michigan’s
bridges without forcing regular families to foot the
congressional delegation to end Michigan’s status
bill for everything. It’s time for wealthy corporations
as a donor state, and bring more of our tax dollars
to start paying their fair share to fix the roads, and
back home to Michigan to help fix our roads and
we need to protect prevailing wage to ensure our
roads are built by well-trained Michigan
construction workers. Grow and develop a highly-skilled workforce.
To fix our crumbling roads and bridges, Michigan
OUR PRIORITIES needs a workforce that has the skills to get the job
Rebuild Michigan’s crumbling roads and done right: on-time and on-budget. The training
bridges. Michigan families need good roads to and apprenticeship programs offered through
take our kids to school and get to work safely Michigan’s Building Trades unions offer our young
without blowing a tire or busting an axle. To make it people an opportunity to get the skills they need to
happen, we must develop a bipartisan road compete for good jobs with fair pay and benefits,
funding solution that requires corporations that and without any student debt. Instead of attacking
were given a $2 billion tax break by Governor Building Trades unions – which provide these vital
Snyder – and benefit from our roads – to pay their training programs at no cost to taxpayers – the
fair share to repair them, without forcing regular state should treat them as partners, by working to
families to foot the bill for everything. Any road link career and technical education and job
plan must also include strong and enforceable


training to middle and high school students and It’s time for Michigan to upgrade and modernize
employers. our underground water and sewer infrastructure to
protect public health, repair the damage caused by
Protect Prevailing Wage. The skilled trades are the Flint Water Crisis – which was a direct
crucial to Michigan’s economy. We need high- consequence of Rick Snyder’s failed Emergency
quality construction work done safely by well- Manager law, and Bill Schuette’s negligent
trained workers. Prevailing wage laws mean hiring oversight – and prevent another disaster like this
quality workers who are Michigan residents instead from ever happening again.
of hiring unskilled workers from out-of-state.
Michigan’s prevailing wage law also increases To safeguard our irreplaceable water, Michigan
competition for public construction projects, must adopt strong pipeline safety, inspection, and
ensuring taxpayers get the best deal. reporting standards to prevent an oil or natural gas
spill from ever occurring in the Great Lakes. We
But right now billionaires like Dick DeVos are must also require all polluters to pay the full cost of
leading an effort to repeal prevailing wage, which repairing the environmental disasters they create,
would cut the pay of working skilled trades men using skilled and well-trained workers to fully repair
and women in our state – and that includes many the damage.
veterans, who are more likely to work in skilled
construction jobs. If we cut the pay of skilled Secure Michigan’s energy future. Clean,
workers in our state, this will take food off of their affordable, and reliable energy is essential to
tables and cause them to leave powering Michigan’s economy. We must work to
Michigan. Prevailing wage is ensure Michigan has the safest and
good for Michigan, good for most reliable conventional energy
small business, and good for
our economy – and we must
work together to protect it.

Modernize our underground

“ Prevailing
wage is good
sources to help small business
compete and keep rates low for
Michigan families.

The science is in on climate change,

for Michigan,
infrastructure and establish strong and as we transition to cleaner,
pipeline safety standards to protect good for small renewable energy sources, we must
our water and the Great Lakes. As develop a proactive transition plan
Michiganders, we all share a special
business, and to assist workers and communities
responsibility to protect the Great good for our who may be affected by plant
Lakes, because our economy, our retirements to ensure that sites are
tourism industry, and our families’ economy – and redeveloped and new job
health all rely on clean water. We need opportunities are created. Michigan
to work together to create a better
we must work must also work to modernize the
balance between good-paying jobs together to electricity grid to make it stronger,
and a sustainable future for our more reliable, more resilient, and
environment. protect it. more efficient.


Growing Vibrant Communities
“If we want young people to stay in Michigan,
start a family, and put down roots here, then we
need to build vibrant and healthy communities
with good schools, safe neighborhoods, and access
to affordable health care.”
—David Hecker, President, AFT Michigan


THE PROBLEM schools to help our students get the skills they
need to compete for good jobs, and promoting
Throughout the 20th Century, cities all over
Buy Local requirements to ensure taxpayer dollars
Michigan were magnets for young workers who
are used to create local jobs for local workers.
were looking for vibrant communities where they
could put down roots and start a family. But since We must work to make our state more welcoming
2011, Governor Snyder and Republicans in the by banning LGBT discrimination. And Michigan
legislature have cut billions of dollars from our must also work to expand access to affordable
local schools, universities, and public safety. primary and mental health care, and ensure
Republicans have also targeted deep cuts to retirement security for our retirees.
retirement savings and health care benefits for
Michigan teachers, nurses, police officers, and OUR PRIORITIES
Prioritize education to compete for good jobs.
As a result of these failed policies, our communities The key to a good job is a good education. But
and schools are struggling to provide basic public Republicans in Lansing have sided with the
services, and thousands of young people who were billionaire DeVos family and wealthy corporations
educated at Michigan’s public universities are to take away over $1 billion a year from
leaving Michigan every year for cities like Chicago, neighborhood schools, giving it to unaccountable
New York, and Washington, D.C. private companies running charter and cyber
schools that are failing to educate our kids.
THE SOLUTION All students, regardless of their zip code, deserve
To get our economy moving, Michigan needs to the support, tools, and time to learn, grow, and
build healthy, vibrant, and livable communities that thrive. Michigan can improve school readiness by
will attract a diverse and highly-skilled workforce. putting the state on a path to universal preschool,
That means reversing the deep cuts to our local by making kindergarten a requirement for all


children, and by ensuring that all students have affordable retiree health care. However, in 2011,
access to community-based wraparound services Governor Snyder and Lansing Republicans
before and after school to address barriers to approved the Snyder Retirement Tax on pensions
learning. to pay for a $2 billion tax break for their wealthy
corporate donors. Now the legislature is
To ensure every student has a caring, qualified, and considering legislation that would slash pensions
committed teacher, we should set standards for and eliminate retiree health care for public
maximum class sizes, and prioritize education employees like police officers, nurses, and
funding that allows educators more time to firefighters. Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress
connect one-on-one with students to encourage support privatizing Social Security, which would
critical thinking and creativity. allow Wall Street CEOs to gamble with America’s
retirement savings. These policies are bad for
The state must stop using the School Aid Fund as a
retirees and bad for Michigan.
“piggy bank” for state government by restricting
use of School Aid dollars for K-12 and preschool Our elected officials must reject any legislation that
purposes only. Lastly, we must make charter cuts retirement savings for working families.
schools operators more transparent and Instead, the legislature should fully repeal the
accountable to taxpayers by removing the profit Snyder Retirement Tax, and Congress must work to
motive from education by making publicly funded expand Social Security benefits with an improved
charter schools truly public – starting with making cost-of-living-adjustment to ensure every American
making management companies subject to FOIA, can enjoy a safe and secure retirement.
cracking down on conflicts of interest, and holding
charter-issuing organizations accountable for Support Buy American, Buy Michigan, Buy
failing schools. Local, and Buy Union programs. To ensure
taxpayers are getting the most value for our
And in 2018, it is essential for students to receive money, we need strong policies on the books to
quality post secondary education – be it by require government contracts be used to create
learning a skill through union apprenticeship good jobs right here at home.
programs, attending a community college to
prepare for a career, or attending a university. The At the local level, that means supporting
state must more adequately fund all public community benefits agreements to ensure local
institutions of higher education so that the burden businesses are hiring local workers to perform the
to meet rising costs doesn't significantly fall on work of modernizing our urban infrastructure. At
students through tuition increases. the state level, it means supporting Michigan Jobs
First legislation to give preference in state contracts
Ensure retirement security. After a long career, all to small businesses that are located here in
working people should be able to retire in dignity Michigan. And in Congress, it means supporting
with strong retirement savings and access to

We need strong policies on the books to require government
contracts be used to create good jobs right here at home.
strong Buy American provisions to ensure our health care legislation that will take health care
roads and bridges get fixed with steel made in away from millions of Americans and raise the cost
America, not China. of prescription drugs for Michigan families.

As a labor movement, the Michigan AFL-CIO, our We need our elected leaders to stand up to the
affiliates, and labor councils are committed to insurance and drug lobby, and work together to
building strong, healthy, and vibrant communities protect and strengthen Medicare, stop outrageous
across the state. The state labor federation prescription drug price increases, and ensure no
encourages all labor unions to negotiate contract one is forced into financial ruin because of pre-
language that requires a union label verifying that existing conditions, extremely high deductibles, or
products and services are made or provided by lifetime caps on coverage. Our elected leaders in
union workers. The Michigan AFL-CIO is also proud Lansing must also work to protect access to mental
to affirm our support for the AFL-CIO Community health care for Michigan residents, and strongly
Services Labor Liaison program within the oppose any effort by big insurance companies to
framework of the State Association of United Ways privatize community mental health services, which
– which helps to build financial and community will lead to higher costs and worse care.
support for the many community health and
human services agencies that provide much- Michigan must also work to ensure every veteran
needed services to Michigan families. who served our nation in uniform has access to
good jobs, quality, affordable health care and a
Embrace our diversity and oppose all forms of strong, fully funded and staffed VA. Our
workforce discrimination. Michigan’s diversity is congressional delegation must vigorously oppose
one of our greatest strengths. Hate speech and any efforts to cut or privatize services at Michigan’s
discrimination should have no place in our great three VA hospitals. The state must also work to
state. We must strengthen and strictly enforce civil reverse Governor Snyder’s disastrous privatization
rights laws that guarantee equal rights for all, and at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans by firing
work to ensure that no one is discriminated against the for-profit management firm and hiring well-
or profiled based on their race, ethnicity, trained state employees to ensure our veterans
birthplace, ability, gender identity, or sexual receive the care they have earned.

orientation. It’s time for Michigan to get on the
right side of history by finally amending the Elliott-
Larsen Civil Rights Act to ban discrimination
against the LGBT community, because no one
should ever be fired from their job or evicted from
their home because they’re LGBT.

Provide access to quality, affordable health care

for every Michigander. For far too long, big
insurance and big drug companies have used their
money to influence our elected officials, shaping
health care policy to pad their own pocketbooks.
Now Republicans in Congress want to pass major


Creating a Fair Economy
“To build a fair economy in Michigan, we need to
level the playing field on trade and focus on
raising the standard of living for working people
so they can provide a good life for their families.”
—Dennis Williams, President, UAW


Right now Michigan’s economy is out of
balance. Pro-corporate trade deals like
NAFTA have been a total train wreck for
Michigan, because they reward wealthy
corporations for sending Michigan jobs,
factories, and profits overseas. Since
NAFTA was enacted, Michigan has lost tens
of thousands of good-paying
manufacturing jobs.

Making matters worse, corporate CEOs

have rigged the rules of our economy by
denying their employees a fair return on
their work. According to the AFL-CIO’s
Executive PayWatch Report, S&P 500 CEOs in people can care for loved ones when they get sick,
Michigan were paid 391 times more than rank-and- and ensure equal pay for equal work for women.
file workers and 795 times more than full-time Creating a fair economy also means creating a fair
minimum wage workers in 2016. Average tax system, where the wealthiest 1 percent and
compensation for these CEOs was $14,712,548, corporations pay their fair share for things our
while the average salary of production families need, like good schools, safe roads, and
nonsupervisory workers in Michigan was just Social Security and Medicare.
Stagnant paychecks also means working people in End pro-corporate trade deals and level the
Michigan are struggling to sustain their families. playing field for working people. Michigan
According to the Michigan Association of United needs a better deal on trade so working people
Way’s ALICE Report, 40 percent of Michigan can earn a fair return on their work and provide for
households can’t afford basic necessities like their families. We can help working people
housing, child care, food, health care and compete by: renegotiating trade agreements with
transportation. strong and enforceable labor and environmental
standards and expanding access for American
THE SOLUTION exports; by strengthening Buy American provisions
We can level the playing field for Michigan’s to require taxpayer dollars be spent on American
working men and women and help them compete companies and jobs; by creating an outsourcing
in the global economy by negotiating fair trade tax to punish companies that send jobs to foreign
agreements that are focused on exporting countries; and by cracking down on countries like
Michigan products instead of Michigan jobs. To China that manipulate their currency to make their
create a fair economy for working families, we can products cheaper and Michigan products like cars
raise the minimum wage to $15 for all working more expensive. Leveling the playing field on trade
people, guarantee earned sick leave so working will help make Michigan more competitive.


Make the tax code work for working
families, and require the wealthy and
corporations to pay their fair share. As
Americans, we all have a responsibility to
pay our taxes because they help pay for
things our families need, like good
schools, safe roads, clean water, and
police and fire protection. But the tax rules
have been rigged by corporate lobbyists
to favor the wealthy and powerful
corporations over regular working
families. Governor Snyder and Lansing
Republicans handed out over $2 billion in
tax breaks to their corporate donors while
raising taxes on seniors and working
families, and cutting funding for K-16

We believe nobody who works
Working people need a better deal on
taxes, and that means ending tax breaks full time should ever be living in
for companies that ship Michigan jobs poverty.
overseas, getting rid of the Snyder Retirement Tax,
and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for
for a family member when they get sick. Enacting
working families. Reforming our tax system also
strong earned paid sick leave policies will help
means requiring the wealthiest 1 percent and
strengthen families, improve public health, and
corporations to start contributing their fair share to
increase overall workplace productivity.
improve our schools, fix our roads, and protect
Social Security and Medicare.   Provide job protections for pregnancy-related
medical conditions. All working women should be
Establish a $15 minimum wage for all working
eligible for up to three months of job-protected
people so they can provide for their families.
leave if they are disabled by pregnancy, childbirth,
We believe nobody who works full time should
or a related medical condition. Also, pregnant
ever be living in poverty. To rewrite the rules of the
women with a doctor’s recommendation should
labor market and strengthen worker bargaining
have access to reasonable workplace
power, we need to increase the minimum wage to
accommodations, including transferring to a less
$15 to account for inflation, the entry of more
hazardous or strenuous position. Expanding
women into the workforce, and the vastly increased
pregnancy-related job protections will make our
productivity of working people.
economy fairer for working women, and
Adopt strong earned paid sick leave policies to strengthen Michigan families.
ensure all working people have the freedom to
take time off work to recover from an illness or care


Protecting Our Voting
Freedoms and Strengthening
Our Democracy
“There’s a direct relationship between the ballot
box and the bread box, and what the union fights
for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken
away in the legislative halls.”
—Walter Reuther, Former President, UAW


THE PROBLEM and enough voting machines available to reduce
waiting time at the polls and ensure every
Our democracy is supposed to be of, for, and by
Michigan voter can have their voice heard and their
the people, not the wealthy and powerful. But
vote counted accurately in our elections.
billionaires and corporate CEOs are using their
campaign donations to manipulate the rules of our Make state government more open,
democracy in their favor. They’ve rigged the rules transparent, and accountable to taxpayers. It’s
so they can spend unlimited money on campaigns time to open the books on state government by
while hiding their donations, and by taking away making the legislature and the executive branch
our voting rights to choose who represents us in subject to the Freedom of Information Act, and by
Lansing and Washington. Michigan ranks dead last establishing a strong and robust code of ethics for
in America when it comes to transparency and all state elected officials, including top political
accountability in state government. appointees in state government. The code of ethics
must also require personal financial disclosure for
THE SOLUTION all elected officials, with strong guidelines and
We need to push for real democracy reforms, to enforceable penalties for failing to disclose any
ensure every American has the freedom to have potential conflicts of interest. Michigan should ban
their voice heard and their vote counted in our secret political non-profits, like Governor Snyder’s
elections, regardless of party. It’s time to get “NERD Fund,” and require all in-state political funds
money out of politics, expand our voting freedoms, to publicly disclose all political contributions online
and modernize our elections by making them more on a quarterly basis. We should also explore
secure and accurate. solutions to reform or repeal term limits to ensure
we have the best people serving in public office.
Protect and strengthen our voting freedoms. Get money out of politics and close the
That means changing the law to allow online voter revolving door in Lansing. Michigan should
registration, expand vote-by-mail and allow no- repeal the recent “Citizens United on Steroids” law
reason absentee voting, and early in-person voting. that allows unlimited spending on political
These common-sense reforms will make it easier campaigns. We must also ban lobbyist gifts to
for college students, working people, and senior government officials to ensure policymakers are
citizens to exercise their right to vote. We must also serving the people of Michigan, not corporate
protect the freedom to vote a straight-party ballot, lobbyists. Michigan also needs to close the
which makes voting faster, easier, and more revolving door between the legislature and the
convenient for Republican and Democratic voters lobby corps, by requiring a mandatory “cooling off”
alike. We must also repeal unfair and discriminatory period of at least three years for former elected
voter ID laws that make it harder for low-income officials after they leave public office.
voters and seniors to vote.
Ban partisan gerrymandering, which takes away
Modernize our voting infrastructure. We must voters’ freedom to choose their own elected
ensure that every voting precinct in Michigan has officials. Michigan must develop a new system for
the most secure and up-to-date voting technology, drawing state legislative and congressional districts
that are truly fair and representative of the people.