Rally to Protect Veterans’ Medical Services

On Wednesday, June 22, AFGE members filled the sidewalk outside the Ann Arbor VA Hospital to show their support for veterans and to send a message to those who would close VA hospitals and force our veterans to go to private hospitals. Veterans have sacrificed to protect our country. They deserve the best possible medical care. Privatization would result in a reduction in the benefits veterans have earned and a loss of the specialized care that VA hospitals are able to provide.
Working people, veterans, and affiliates of the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation stood shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters AFGE Local 2092 in speaking out against proposed privatization that would put private-sector profits before our veterans’ care. During the two-hour rally, veterans on their way to the VA and engaged citizens driving by the rally expressed their support by honking their horns and waving.
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Rally Against Corporate Takeover of EMU Dining Services

2016-06-21 11.35.20Workers, students, and community leaders rallied on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, to ask that the Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents halt its plan to the privatize campus dining services. Members of the EMU community voiced deeps concerns about the lack of transparency and inclusivity in the decision-making process that led the Board to vote unanimously to privatize dining services with Chartwells, a subsidiary of Compass Group.

Chartwells has promised to invest millions at EMU, increase food quality, and pay the university for the contract. They also claim that they will source local ingredients, though they define “local” to include cities as far away as Buffalo, New York and Chicago, Illinois. Despite its lofty promises, Chartwells must generate profit. Profit will be made on the backs of workers and students.

The consequences of privatization are stark:

  • New workers hired by Chartwells will have greatly reduced benefits that will be nearly impossible for them to afford, far fewer job protections, and lower wages.
  • Chartwells will have a strong financial incentive to get rid of the EMU bargaining unit employees to be able to hire more poverty level wage employees.

The solutions are clear:

  • EMU administrators and the Board must consult with stakeholders on campus and in the surrounding community. Working people, students, and community representatives should be included in the decisions that shape their lives.
  • Students, working people, and the community must organize together to lower the cost of education, reaffirm the rights of workers, and reestablish democracy on EMU’s campus.

Thank you to all those who stood with students and working people to promote an economy that works for all people, including:

Washtenaw County Commission
     Yousef Rabhi (District 8) — running for State House 53 — endorsed by HVALF
      Ronnie Peterson (District 6) — running for State House 54 — endorsed by HVALF
Ypsilanti City Council
      Pete Murdock (Ward 3) — running to retain his seat on City Council — endorsed by HVALF
      Anne Brown (Ward 2) and running for State House 54
 Ypsilanti Township
      Brenda Stumbo (Supervisor) — running to retain her position — endorsed by HVALF
      Karen Lovejoy Roe (Clerk) — running to retain her position — endorsed by HVALF
 Running for Office
      Steve Kwasny — running for State House 53
      Jason Morgan — running for Washtenaw County Commission (District 8) — endorsed by HVALF
      Michelle Regalado Deatrick — running for Washtenaw County Commission (District 2) — endorsed by HVALF
      Ricky Lee Jefferson — running for Washtenaw County Commission (Ward 6) — endorsed by HVALF
      Heather Jarrell Roe — running for Ypsilanti Township Trustee
      Monica Ross-Williams — running for Ypsilanti Township Trustee
      Lonnie Scott — running for Ypsilanti Township Trustee
Washtenaw County Democratic Party
      Catherine Daligga
 
Organized Labor (in alphabetical order)
   Tim Allen (Organizer, EMUFT, AFT-MI)
   Kelly Anthony (Organizer, MNA)
   John Armalagos (President, MNA)
   Howard Bunsis (President-Elect, AAUP EMU)
   Al Cholger (Sub-District Director, United Steelworkers District 2)
   Jason Crispell (President, AFSCME Local 3866, EMU)
   Nancy Heine (President, AFSCME 3052; VP, HVALF)
   Bob King (President Emeritus, UAW)
   Judy Kullberg (President, EMU Faculty Senate; EMU AAUP)
   Lisa Laverty (President, EMUFT, AFT-MI)
   Gina Liburdi (Lead Organizer, LEO, AFT-MI)
   Susan Moeller (President, AAUP EMU)
   Ron Motsinger (Business Agent, IBEW 252)
   Matt Oches (Organizer, LEO, AFT-MI)
   Jim Pedersen (President Emeritus, UAW 892)
   Ian Robinson (President, Huron Valley Area Labor Federation)
   Rick Roe (Secretary-Treasurer, UAW 898, Rawsonville)
   Amanda Schwartzberg (Intern, LEO, AFT-MI)
   Grant Shafer (EMU AAUP)
   Mike Shumaker (President, UAW 1975, EMU)
   Rich Stahler-Sholk (EMU AAUP)
   Daric Thorne (EMUFT, AFT-MI)
   John Ware (President, GEO, AFT-MI)
   Tad Wysor (Vice-President, AFGE 3907, ERA)

 

 

Two Rallies against Privatization in Washtenaw County Next Week

Please join HVALF, Eastern Michigan University staff, faculty, and students, and Veterans’ Administration Hospital workers for two events next week opposing privatization initiatives in Washtenaw County:

(1) EMU Food services, Tuesday, June 21st – Rally at 11am, outside Welch Hall*, Eastern Michigan University Campus, Ypsilanti, and Regents meeting at 1pm, Room 201 Welch Hall. EMU Flyer (PDF)

and

(2) VA Hospital, Wednesday, June 22nd, from 11am to 1pm, 2215 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor. Rally in front of hospital. VA Hospital Flyer

Please come to one or both if you can, and forward widely to friends and allies whether or not you can come in person.

A year does not go by without initiatives to privatize more public services in our county. This steady drip, drip, drip is, cumulatively, a major contributor to the growing share of Washtenaw County’s people who don’t earn enough to meet the United Way’s “basic needs” budget. See the Growing Together or Drifting Apart report for the details on this trend.

We need to stop this trend in its tracks, and reverse it where possible. But that’s not going to happen without a struggle. Powerful vested interests benefit from privatization — financially (extracting shareholder profits from tax payer money — think charter schools), politically (by weakening organized labor, which resists their redistribute to the 1% agenda) and ideologically (if 75% of higher ed institutions contract out food services, it must be the right thing to do! 10,000 lemmings can’t be wrong). These self-interested actors will not stop pushing for more and more privatization until we stand up and say Enough!

In the words of Frederick Douglass, who knew something about challenging entrenched power structures, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.”

Truer words were never spoken. Please stand with us next week.

*For directions to EMU’s Welch Hall, please see this campus map. There is Visitor Parking in the nearby Bowen, McKinney, and Student Center lots, accessible from Oakwood Street. See http://www.emich.edu/parking/documents/parking_map.pdf .

For more background on the food service privatization, Eclectablog has a good summary.

Press Conference About EMU Privatization

Please join the Huron Valley Area Labor Federation and others from the local labor community for a press conference addressing our response to EMU’s proposed food service privatization.

When: 5 PM Tuesday 6/14
Where: Halle Auditorium, EMU Library (lower level), 955 W. Circle Drive, Ypsilanti MI.
Parking: There is Visitor Parking in the nearby Bowen, McKinney, and Student Center lots, accessible from Oakwood Street. See http://www.emich.edu/parking/documents/parking_map.pdf .

Here is a story from Michigan Radio on the proposed privatization.

HVALF Endorsements June 2016

HVALF State House Recommendations and Local Government Endorsements (June 8, 2016)

At our April 7, 2016 meeting, the HVALF’s delegates discussed and voted on the recommendations of our Committee on Political Education (COPE) as regards state house and local elections.

Process

  • HVALF sends email invitations to all candidates in elections in which HVALF has taken an interest
  • Candidates will be considered if they fill out the HVALF’s on-line questionnaire, the link is included in the invitation email; no-one who does not fill out the questionnaire will be recommended or endorsed
  • Everyone who fills out an HVALF questionnaire is invited to meet with the HVALF’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) for a short (15 minutes) interview
  • The COPE discusses information gathered from the questionnaire, the interview and other sources, and makes recommendations to the full HVALF delegate body at its next monthly meeting
  • The delegate body discusses the COPE’s recommendations and votes on each.

2016 State House Recommendations

With respect to STATE HOUSE seats, the HVALF does not endorse; we make recommendations to the Michigan AFL-CIO on who we think they should endorse. Here are our recommendations:

  • State House #42 (Livingston): Timothy Johnson
  • State House #52 (Washtenaw): Barbara Fuller
  • State House #53 (Washtenaw): Yousef Rabhi
  • State House #54 (Washtenaw): Ronnie Peterson
  • State House #55 (Washtenaw): Adam Zemke
  • State House #64 (Jackson): Ronald Kenneth Brooks

2016 Local Government Endorsements

With respect to local elections, the HVALF normally has the final word on AFL-CIO endorsements. Here are our endorsements:

WASHTENAW COUNTY COMMISSION

  • District 1: Kent Martinez-Kratz
  • District 2: Michelle Deatrick
  • District 4: Felicia Brabec
  • District 6: Ricky Lee Jefferson
  • District 7: Andy LaBarre
  • District 8: Jason Morgan
  • District 9: Conan Smith

WASHTENAW COUNTY TREASURER

Catherine McClary

WASHTENAW COUNTY SHERIFF

Jerry Clayton

LIVINGSTON COUNTY COMMISSION

Kristina Drake

ANN ARBOR CITY COUNCIL

  • Ward 1: Sumi Kailasapathy
  • Ward 2: Kirk Westphal
  • Ward 3: Julie Grand
  • Ward 4: Graydon Krapohl
  • Ward 5: Chuck Warpehoski

YPSILANTI CITY COUNCIL

  • Ward 1: Lois Elizabeth Richardson
  • Ward 2: Jennifer Symanns
  • Ward 3: Peter Murdock

YPSILANTI TOWNSHIP

  • Supervisor: Brenda Stumbo
  • Treasurer: Larry Doe
  • Clerk: Karen Lovejoy Roe
  • Trustees (4 seats): Mike Martin, Jimmie Wilson Jr., Stanley Eldrich, and Scott Douglas Martin
  • Park Commissioner: Gloria Peterson

PITTSFIELD TOWNSHIP

  • Supervisor: Mandy Grewal
  • Treasurer: Pat Scribner
  • Clerk: Michelle Anzaldi
  • Trustees (4 seats): Linda Edwards Brown, Gerald Krone, George Ralph, and Yameen Jaffer

SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP

Trustee: Roderick Kevin Green

HAMBURG TOWNSHIP (Livingston County)

Trustee: Dan Luria