Latest Solidarity Issue

New ad speaks to the dignity of earning a fair day's pay for a fair day's work

11/01/12

Protect Working Families news release

 he Yes on Proposal 2 campaign released a 30-second ad today that details the dignity and sense of pride that comes from earning a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and how collective bargaining ensures that pay isn’t arbitrarily cut.

Working families have the fundamental right to collectively bargain for fair wages, benefits and safer working conditions that are good for us all.

The ad says:

“There’s dignity in an honest day’s work. And pride in a job done right. But you can’t fill your car up with dignity. Or pay for college with pride. Now corporate CEOs are slashing our jobs and wages so they make millions. We need protection. That’s collective bargaining. It means they can’t cut and cut. They have to negotiate and better negotiated wages means better pay for all of us. Voting yes on 2 protects our right to collective bargaining. Don’t put our voice at risk. Vote yes on 2.”


Proposal 2 doesn’t give workers any rights they do not already possess. It helps to protect the basic right to collectively bargain from being eliminated by Lansing politicians following the whims of their corporate special interest campaign donors.

Corporate bosses are pressuring the politicians to eliminate collective bargaining and the politicians are listening. They have ignored contracts and enacted legislation that taxes pensions, eliminates teacher input on issues that affect students and given out $1.8 billion in corporate tax breaks. The breaks were covered by gouging K-12 and high education funding.

Nearly $25 million was raised by front groups for these corporate special interests to fight Proposal 2. Among the biggest donors to the opposition were the DeVos family and their corporate interests, (more than $1.8 million) and Las Vegas billionaires Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, who gave $1 million each.

The groups, Protecting Michigan Taxpayers and Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution, used most of the raised funds to pay for ads riddled with lies, misinformation and fear mongering.

Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith, Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm have spoken out against the ads and the opposition’s claims.

Collective bargaining gives firefighters and police officers a voice to negotiate for life-saving equipment, protects nurses who speak up about a patient’s care and gives teachers smaller class sizes so they can better educate our children.
 

 

 

Romney's auto mess shows he is not ready

It would be nice if GOP candidate would stick to the facts on Jeep and the auto bailout

By Bob King
Mitt Romney's meandering statements and plain falsehoods about the auto industry finally caught up to him earlier this week when he told a big whopper that cannot be squared with the truth during a speech in Defiance, Ohio. He said that Jeep, the American icon and great Toledo institution, "is thinking of moving all production to China."

Everyone paying attention to the election called him on it. Chrysler Group LLC has set the record straight, stating it has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America.

Defiance is an Ohio auto town whose most important employer is the General Motors (GM) plant that was saved by President Barack Obama. Voters there recognize that Romney's claim is just plain foolish, because Jeep is expanding, not contracting -- it's been all over the Ohio press for a year.

Though the fact-checkers and the media unanimously shot down Romney's claims, no one was more stunned at the sheer craziness of Romney's statement than the workers at the Jeep factory, just down the road from Defiance. Chrysler is investing $500 million, adding 1,100 jobs and will actually add new models to one of the Jeep plants in Toledo.

Yet none of this would be occurring if the Obama administration had followed Romney's plan to rely on private capital to restructure Chrysler. No one, least of all voters in Ohio, who have lived through the ups and downs of the auto industry, believes that Romney's plan would have resulted in anything except the liquidation of Chrysler.

Chrysler's CEO Sergio Marchionne said that it would have been "impossible" for Chrysler to get financing from the private markets in 2009.

The court records are clear, too, but Romney wants voters to forget what Judge Arthur Gonzales said when finalizing Chrysler's restructuring plan: "The sale transaction is the only alternative to liquidation available to the debtors."

All of which has brought us to a truly Etch-a-Sketch moment, where Romney, knowing he is sunk if he admits that his plan would have forced Chrysler into liquidation, tries desperately to flip the script with a big lie about Jeep moving out of Toledo.

And, rather than take the opportunity to exhibit honesty and presidential character by correcting his misstatement, Romney doubled down with a misleading campaign spot about Jeep running in Ohio.

Using Chrysler to take on the Obama administration's results in saving the domestic auto industry is an odd choice. After all, the Chrysler restructuring has been a great success, starting with Chrysler having paid back all of its loans from the federal government six years ahead of schedule.

Just a few days ago, Chrysler reported that it had its best September sales in five years and that its third-quarter profit was up 80 percent over 2011. Since 2009, Chrysler has hired more than 7,000 workers in the United States and is hiring thousands more, starting with adding an additional shift at a plant in Detroit that builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

And while Mitt Romney sticks to his false Chrysler narrative, an even more damning story about the dirty dealing of Mitt Romney's investment partners during the 2009 restructuring of GM is beginning to emerge.

Mitt Romney and his partners made a killing on the GM bankruptcy by gaining control of bankrupt parts supplier Delphi, then threatening to withhold components critical to the production of GM vehicles. Romney's business partners were willing to force GM into liquidation and cause a national economic calamity unless they got more money. In the end, the Romney investor group got what it wanted and earned a profit of more than 3,000 percent on its initial investment.

This is the real Romney, a man who objected to the rescue of the domestic auto industry, then made astronomical profits after his business partners threatened the survival of GM. A man who lies about Chrysler moving jobs to China, when his history at Bain Capital, the private equity firm he founded, shows that he has invested in Chinese factories where workers are grossly exploited. Romney won't even act to stop the Sensata factory in Illinois, in which he is an investor, from closing the doors and moving to China the day before the election.

Mitt Romney won't come clean on Chrysler, won't come clean on his Chinese investments and threatened the restructuring of GM for his own profit. That is the picture of a me-first hedge-fund investor, not someone who has the judgment or character to be President of the United States.

Bob King is president of the UAW. This opinion piece originally appeared on the USA Today website on Oct. 31, 2012.

 

 

Don't be fooled by last-minute polls on Prop 2

10/31/12

GOP firm has a history of being very wrong

Beware! As costumed revelers prepare take to the streets tonight, we write with a warning: Don’t be spooked by last-minute polls. We know from internal data we are ahead, by the slimmest of margins, and if we move our base, we can win – Yes on 2!

We will hear today and over the next several days about all types of polls. For instance, tonight there will be one issued by some media outlets, conducted by out-of-state Republican pollster at the Glengariff Group suggesting we are behind. Consider the history of this firm:

The lack of accuracy of the Chicago-based Republican pollsters Glengarrif in Michigan races is scary. Glengarrif picked the wrong winner in the 2012 Republican Presidential Primary and the 2010 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary. Election Day results were nowhere close to their projections. As the old saying goes, numbers don’t lie, but you can lie with numbers.

2010 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

Projected                Election Results        Date
Dillon     34%           41%                           Poll: July 20, 2010
Bernero 25%           59%                           Election: August 3, 2010

2012 Republican Presidential Primary
Projected                    Election Results      Date
Romney     30%           41%                         Poll: February 16, 2012
Santorum   34%          38%                         Election: February 28, 2012

Despite being outspent by nearly 2:1 in the final stretch here, we have two things on our side:

 We are right on the issue: We stand with and for everyday Michigan citizens who deserve a fundamental constitutional right to fair wages, benefits, and safe working conditions that benefit us all.
   

We have built an amazing, unprecedented, never seen before, grassroots campaign – and in conjunction with the Michigan Democratic Coordinated Campaign we have doubled our capacity to take our message to the streets, mailboxes, worksites, and telephones. Consider this: Over the spring, over 52,000 circulators gathered over 700,000 petition signatures – and the organization has grown from there. Our coalition is comprised of 33 organizations that represent millions of people. We’ve contacted over 3.063 million voters that our sophisticated voter targeting model directs us toward to reach our vote goal. We have seen record numbers of people “voting in person” in Detroit. Our analysis of absentee voters who have returned ballots against the collective bargaining model on the voter file indicates the ratio of supportive Yes on 2 voters who have returned ballots is 2:1 over likely “no” voters within the partisan core – our voters are energized. The voter identification calls to persuadable households also show us leading “no” by 26 percent.

And yes, there is a third, and most important asset we have on our side. That’s YOU. So, as Rosie the Riveter said: “We can do it!" The corporate special interests will do all that they can to mislead and dispirit you. Don’t give in, and don’t let up.

To win? It’s person-to-person contact that will make the difference. Talk to your co-workers, friends, family, and neighbors. Tell them that “Yes” is a vote for collective bargaining, and “no” is a vote against collective bargaining. Without it, we will lose our voice. So, keep organizing til the polls close next Tuesday at 8 p.m. and victory will be ours. Go to: for Poll Greeter Sign Up – http://bit.ly/PftAj1 and for Canvass Shift Sign Up - http://bit.ly/RbnOKd

 

Demand Michigan TV stations stop running erroneous anti-Prop 2 ad

10/31/12

PWF logoIn Michigan, call your local television station and demand they stop running the anti-Proposal 2 ad "Dangerous." Even the Free Press has stated the ad is wrong and asked that it be taken down.

Here is the list of phone numbers of local TV stations to call in pdf format.

Unions, good government groups to file ethics complaint against Romney for failing to disclose his big auto rescue profit

10/31/12

Groups urge Office of Government Ethics to make Romney disclose or divest

WASHINGTON -- A coalition of community, labor and good-government organizations is calling on the U.S. Office of Government Ethics to investigate GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for noncompliance with the Ethics in Government Act and compel him to either disclose his investments or divest them.

"The American people have a right to know about Governor Romney's potential conflicts of interest, such as the profits his family made from the auto rescue," said UAW President Bob King. "It's time for Governor Romney to disclose or divest."

"While Romney was opposing the rescue of one of the nation's most important manufacturing sectors, he was building his fortunes with his Delphi investor group, making his fortunes off the misfortunes of others," King added.

The groups sending the complaint letter, including SEIU, UAW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Public Citizen, Public Campaign, People for the American Way and The Social Equity Group, believe that Romney's undisclosed stock holdings create serious conflicts of interest. They point to the auto rescue as a key example. 

The Nation recently reported that the Romney family personally profited by at least $15.3 million from the auto loans of 2009 through his investment in the Delphi Corp. auto parts company. Yet Romney's June 1, 2012, Public Financial Disclosure Report to the Office of Government Ethics did not reveal this windfall because he did not disclose the underlying holdings of his private equity and limited partnership funds.

Here are details of a joint news conference to be held Thursday in Toledo, Ohio: 

WHO: UAW President Bob King
           SEIU Executive Vice President Tom Woodruff
           Investigative reporter Greg Palast, author of "Mitt Romney's Bailout Bonanza" in The Nation, and                the book, "Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps."
           Delphi workers 

WHAT:
 News conference on Mitt Romney's conflicts of interest with his investments, including his profiting                from the auto bailout.

WHERE:   UAW Local 12, 2300 Ashland Ave., Toledo, Ohio 43620

WHEN:    Thursday, Nov. 1, 2 p.m.

 

 

Bill Clinton endorses Michigan's Proposal 2

10/30/12

Protect Working Families news release: Former president urges a YES vote to protect collective bargaining

Today the Vote Yes on 2 Campaign to protect collective bargaining confirmed the support of former President Bill Clinton.  

“Collective bargaining protects rights for all working families, and gives you a voice to negotiate for fair wages, benefits and safe working conditions,” said Clinton.  “Voting yes on Proposal 2 also protects workers from corporate special interests that arbitrarily cut wages, benefits and pensions and ship jobs overseas.”

PWF logo

“We are thrilled to have President Clinton’s support for Proposal 2 because collective bargaining gives all workers a voice on the job,” said Protect Working Families Campaign Manager Ken Brock.  “Collective bargaining helped save our auto industry, and a yes vote on Proposal 2 will ensure that police officers, firefighters, and nurses can negotiate for the staffing levels and equipment that they need to keep our communities safe.”

President Clinton is the latest in a string of prominent endorsements, including the Michigan PTA, former Governor Jennifer Granholm and numerous law enforcement officials such as Sheriff Benny Napoleon.  A yes vote on Proposal 2 protects collective bargaining, while a no vote is a vote against this fundamental right.

For more information on Proposal 2 visit ProtectWorkingFamilies.com. You can also like Protect Working Families on Facebook or follow @ProtectMIJobs on Twitter.

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Opponents of Prop 2 to protect collective bargaining caught with false ad

10/30/12

Protect Working Families news release: 'Dangerous' ad unfit for airwaves

Opponents of Prop 2 to Protect Collective Bargaining were caught misleading voters again in their latest 30 second TV ad. The ad, “Dangerous” misrepresented statements printed in the Detroit Free Press by an opposition spokesman. After being confronted with the facts, PMT was forced to remove the ad from the airwaves or make serious changes.

In the ad, a voiceover states, “A special interest sweatheart deal . . . .” The visual overlay reads: “Sweetheart Deals Paid For By Taxpayers,” which is attributed to the Detroit Free Press.

The unavoidable implication is that the Detroit Free Press made this statement about Proposal 2. In fact, the Free Press has made no such statement about Proposal 2. The statement falsely attributed to the Free Press actually was made in the opinion piece by Chamber of Commerce President Richard Studley, published in the Free Press on October 14, 2012 (“Opposing Points of View: Unions' Power Grab Imperils Michigan's Fragile Economic Recovery”).

The accusation of “sweetheart deals” falsely attributed to the Detroit Free Press actually is only mud-slinging by the chief spokesman for the corporate special interests opposing collective bargaining for Michigan workers; it is not the opinion of the Free Press as the ad suggests.

Misleading voters is nothing new for the corporate special interests opposing Prop 2 to Protect Collective Bargaining. Together PMT and Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution have spent nearly $25 million on false ads that have been denounced by law enforcement across the state, former Governor Jennifer Granholm and former Supreme Court Justice Alton Davis, among many others.


FactCheck.org
, a national campaign research organization criticized PMT’s ads on Friday, calling them “scare tactics” and stating that PMT “goes too far” and “fails to tell the whole story when it claims the amendment ‘could prohibit schools from removing employees with criminal records."

The latest attacks by corporate special interests include bringing a lawsuit against the Michigan PTA, that challenges their tax status, for endorsing Prop 2 because it provides teachers the materials and class sizes to help kids learn and keep them safe.

Attacking parents is the lowest form of intimidation. These bullying tactics were denounced by the Michigan Nonprofit Association, who stated “PMT’s leaders were clearly either ignorant or dismissive of the law. 501 (c)(3) organizations are entitled to lobby for or against ballot proposals and any competent attorney would be able to explain this.”

 

Romney-Ryan: Private equity pirates profiting off the misfortune of Delphi autoworkers

10/30/12

See video

DETROIT -- Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are the last people who should be championing the cause of Delphi salaried workers whose pensions were terminated during the General Motors and Delphi bankruptcies. Despite opposing the auto rescue, Romney personally profited off the deal that cut the pensions of workers at Delphi Automotive, an automotive parts division spun off from GM in 1999.

A recent report in The Nation detailed Romney's investment in the hedge fund that swooped in to buy - for pennies on the dollar - controlling interest in Delphi during its bankruptcy. The Romney campaign has not denied that the Romney family made at least $15 million and as much as $115 million off its investment in the hedge fund that controlled Delphi after its bankruptcy.

Romney's investor group leveraged more than $12 billion in rescue funds from the U.S. Treasury Department through its major customer, GM, by threatening to withhold components critical to the assembly of GM cars. Steven Rattner, former counselor to the Treasury secretary in the Obama administration during the auto restructuring, likened it to "extortion demands by the Barbary pirates."

"It was Mitt Romney's major campaign contributor -- not the Obama administration -- who forced the termination of all of the Delphi pension plans for both union and salaried workers," said UAW President Bob King. "GM is paying the portion of the pension of UAW members that is not covered by the PBGC [Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp.], because it is honoring an agreement in place since 1999, when Delphi was spun off from GM. We have always supported the salaried Delphi workers receiving their full pensions, and it is unfortunate that Mitt Romney, after dumping their pensions, is further exploiting these workers for his personal gain. Delphi's major new owners made enough profit in just one year to have fully funded these salaried workers' pensions and still made $400 million."

"So while Romney was opposing the rescue of one of the nation's most important manufacturing sectors, he was building his fortunes with his Delphi investor group, making his fortunes off the misfortunes of others. The company Romney founded, Bain Capital, continues to devastate American workers and communities by closing profitable U.S. facilities and shifting work to China to make even more profits. A current example happening today is Bain closing a profitable Sensata plant in Freeport, Ill.," King said.

"Romney says he will fight for every American job, so why isn't he fighting for the American jobs at Sensata? And why isn't he intervening with his own Bain Capital to keep these jobs in the U.S. rather than outsourcing them to China? Romney's pirate practices have only recently come to light through the investigative work of journalist Greg Palast. What else is Romney hiding?" King added.

 

Chrysler Group position on Jeep production plans

10/30/12

Chrysler CEO confirms Romney's Jeep ad is misleading

Editor's note: Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne saw the need to send a memo to Chrysler employees after Mitt Romney misrepresented what the corporation's plans are for the Jeep brand.

Chrysler Group’s production plans for the Jeep brand have become the focus of public debate.

I feel obliged to unambiguously restate our position: Jeep production will not be moved from the United States to China.

North American production is critical to achieving our goal of selling 800,000 Jeep vehicles by 2014. In fact, U.S. production of our Jeep models has nearly tripled (it is expected to be up 185%) since 2009 in order to keep up with global demand.

We also are investing to improve and expand our entire U.S. operations, including our Jeep facilities. The numbers tell the story:

We will invest more than $1.7 billion to develop and produce the next generation Jeep SUV, the successor of the Jeep Liberty -- including $500 million directly to tool and expand our Toledo Assembly Complex and will be adding about 1,100 jobs on a second shift by 2013.

At our Jefferson North Assembly Plant, where we build the Jeep Grand Cherokee, we have created 2,000 jobs since June 2009 and have invested more than $1.8 billion.

In Belvidere, where we build two Jeep models, we have added two shifts since 2009 resulting in an additional 2,600 jobs.

With the increase in demand for our vehicles, especially Jeep branded vehicles, we have added more than 11,200 U.S. jobs since 2009. Plants producing Jeep branded vehicles alone have seen the number of people invested in the success of the Jeep brand grow to more than 9,300 hourly jobs from 4,700. This will increase by an additional 1,100 as the Liberty successor, which will be produced in Toledo, is introduced for global distribution in the second quarter of 2013.

Together, we are working to establish a global enterprise and previously announced our intent to return Jeep production to China, the world’s largest auto market, in order to satisfy local market demand, which would not otherwise be accessible. Chrysler Group is interested in expanding the customer base for our award-winning Jeep vehicles, which can only be done by establishing local production. This will ultimately help bolster the Jeep brand, and solidify the resilience of U.S. jobs.

Jeep is one of our truly global brands with uniquely American roots. This will never change. So much so that we committed that the iconic Wrangler nameplate, currently produced in our Toledo, Ohio plant, will never see full production outside the United States.

Jeep assembly lines will remain in operation in the United States and will constitute the backbone of the brand.

It is inaccurate to suggest anything different.

Sergio Marchionne
 

UAW: Romney doubles down on Jeep lie

10/28/12

Romney continues misinformation and hypocrisy on Chrysler

DETROIT – Even after Chrysler Corp.'s Gualberto Ranieri, vice president of communications, said Friday, “Let's set the record straight: Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China,” the Romney campaign put out a false and misleading ad basically repeating his bogus statement made Thursday in Ohio that Chrysler was moving all Jeep production to China.

All patriotic Americans should be applauding Chrysler’s amazing comeback and the billions of dollars that Chrysler is investing right here in the United States, creating tens of thousands of direct auto and “ripple” jobs in the United States.

One important example of this is Chrysler’s huge $500 million investment in its Jeep Toledo Assembly Complex and the addition of 1,100 jobs in this Ohio facility. This investment will also create another 5,000 to 10,000 “ripple” jobs in Ohio. Chrysler has added 7,000 jobs at American and Canadian Chrysler plants since 2009 and will add a third crew next week at the Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit where the Jeep Grand Cherokee and other models are made.

“What is especially hypocritical of Mr. Romney’s statements and new ad is Bain Capital’s closing of profitable U.S. facilities and shifting work to China to make even higher profits like what is happening today in closing a profitable Sensata plant in Freeport, Ill., to move the work to China,” said UAW President Bob King. “Romney says in the ad that he will fight for every American job, so why isn’t he fighting for the American jobs at Sensata? And why isn’t he intervening with his own Bain Capital to keep these jobs in the U.S. rather than outsourcing them to China? We just wish that Mr. Romney was as committed to investing in the U.S. as Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is.

“Americans will remember that President Obama stood behind American working families and American communities in rescuing the U.S. auto industry and that Mr. Romney opposed the rescue and now attacks Chrysler with misinformation. In putting out this misinformation, Romney is recklessly undermining Chrysler’s reputation and threatening good American jobs,” King added.