Op-ed: Organized labor losing its grip

From the Traverse City Record Eagle:

For as long as I can remember, organized labor has been a powerful — perhaps the most powerful — influence in Michigan politics, most of all within the Democratic Party.

Especially in the southeast part of our state, nothing of political consequence happened for decades without the major unions signing off on it, or at the bare minimum, offering grudging acceptance. Yet now, with Michigan still firmly in the grip of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, people appear increasingly disconnected from the usual political process and from their traditional designated leaders. Significantly, this includes union members and their families, as well.

Mayor Bing, union headed to court after talks stall

From The Detroit News:

Mayor Dave Bing and the city’s largest union remain deadlocked over contract concessions and the standoff is returning to court.

Last week, officials with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees sued the city in Wayne County Circuit Court, claiming Bing’s staffers haven’t supplied much of the information the union requested on the concessions. Among the missing documents are how much Detroit would save from some of Bing’s proposals, such as eliminating daily overtime and reducing paid time off, union officials said.

Bing wants the union to take a 10 percent pay cut through 26 furlough days and accept a host of other changes to offset the city’s estimated $300 million budget deficit. Union officials say they know the city is financially strapped but argue they can’t justify all the concessions without the numbers that back up the savings.

Home builder nailed for firing worker, seeks injunction to stop union protest

Bloomfield Hills-based Pulte Homes, the country’s largest residential home builder, has gone to court to stop a union protest campaign that apparently is bringing the company to its electronic knees.

Pulte’s phones and e-mail accounts have been jammed, reports The Associated Press, by people upset by Pulte’s discharge of a worker, allegedly for wearing a union T-shirt.

In a court filing, Pulte has asked a federal judge

to order the Laborers’ International Union of North America to stop the campaign and take down a Web site criticizing the company.

Pulte’s national customer relations manager, Robert Schmittou, said he has received at least 750 e-mails and more than 100 voice mails that refer to the workers.

Get this: the Laborers’ International Union of North America doesn’t even represent Pulte workers.

Oakland judge asked to order OU faculty to classrooms

The Detroit Free Press reports that Oakland University is claiming that a faculty strike at the school is illegal and is asking Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Edward Sosnick to order the faculty back to the classrooms.

The Freep reports that health care issues and faculty input to university decision-making are the points of contention.