The state of labor on Labor Day, unions face uncertain times - New York News

The state of labor on Labor Day, unions face uncertain times

Posted: Updated:
DETROIT, Mich. (WJBK) -

Thousands of union members took part in Detroit's annual Labor Day parade. But amid the celebration, Michigan union members face uncertain times.

Click on the video player to watch Robin Schwartz's report.

You've seen the protests in recent months - fast food workers walking off the job here and across the country, demanding $15/hour, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hour. Workers are also seeking the right to unionize. A bill to boost Michigan's minimum wage to $10/hour by 2016 has not been embraced by the Republican-controlled legislature or Gov. Rick Snyder.

"The big question is whether or not we're going to see a whole lot of minimum wage workers that are still at the poverty level even though they're working 40-hours-a-week and people sliding downward or whether we're going to see opportunity and a ladder for everybody to move up," said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D) Michigan. She spent part of her Labor Day meeting with AFL-CIO union members in Detroit where they're well aware Michigan is the second worst state when it comes to wage growth over the last 30-years.

"As organized labor's membership numbers have been declining we've seen wage growth in Michigan decline with it," says Chris Michalakis, president of Metro Detroit AFL-CIO.

He says his union is regrouping and redoubling its efforts now that Michigan is a right-to-work state. A court battle over whether the much-debated law applies to state workers is currently underway. With Detroit's bankruptcy filing, there's another battle in Federal Court. Workers are waiting to see what happens with their pensions in a city that doesn't have the money to pay.

"Retirees and the working folks that work for the city, they're the heart-blood, they're the life-blood of the city," says Michalakis.

"They are not the people who made the decisions that got Detroit to this point," added Stabenow. "I do not think people should lose their pensions. When you look at somebody earning on average $19,000 a year that's not where the city or the state should start in order to balance the books."

There are plenty of major issues on the table but union leaders say they're ready to fight in court and on the picket lines.

 

 

==

  • Robin SchwartzRobin SchwartzMore>>

  • Vandals damage historic Detroit cemetery

    Vandals damage historic Detroit cemetery

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:38 PM EDT2014-07-26 02:38:55 GMT
    Police are looking for suspects after vandals disturb the peace at a historic Detroit cemetery. Someone broke into a mausoleum and made a mess with spray paint and ashes.
    Police are looking for suspects after vandals disturb the peace at a historic Detroit cemetery. Someone broke into a mausoleum and made a mess with spray paint and ashes.
  • 33 suspects arrested with ties to Latin Counts street gang

    33 suspects arrested with ties to Latin Counts street gang

    Friday, July 25 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-07-26 00:10:22 GMT
    Right now, nearly three dozen violent criminals are off the streets. The U.S. Attorney says they have ties to the Latin Counts gang in southwest Detroit. Their arrests are part of a joint effort called Detroit One.
    Right now, nearly three dozen violent criminals are off the streets. The U.S. Attorney says they have ties to the Latin Counts gang in southwest Detroit. Their arrests are part of a joint effort called Detroit One.
  • Handmade furniture from Detroit reclaimed lumber

    Handmade furniture from Detroit reclaimed lumber

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 4:18 PM EDT2014-07-23 20:18:32 GMT
    A new brand of furniture is made with wood from deconstructed Detroit homes. The tables are now being sold at Gardner White Furniture stores.
    A new brand of furniture is made with wood from deconstructed Detroit homes. The tables are now being sold at Gardner White Furniture stores.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Falling debris from Midtown building

    Falling debris from Midtown building

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:41 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:41:20 GMT

    Emergency personnel are responding to falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. West 57th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues is closed. SkyFoxHD was overhead where pieces of glass could be seen on the ground and a window shattered. Two people were hit by the falling glass at about 8:45 a.m. and were taken to Roosevelt Hospital with minor injuries, according to police.

    Emergency personnel are responding to falling debris from a high-rise building in Midtown Manhattan. West 57th St. between 5th and 6th Avenues is closed. SkyFoxHD was overhead where pieces of glass could be seen on the ground and a window shattered. Two people were hit by the falling glass at about 8:45 a.m. and were taken to Roosevelt Hospital with minor injuries, according to police.

  • Arrest in attack on teen in elevator

    Arrest in attack on teen in elevator

    Thursday, July 31 2014 9:24 AM EDT2014-07-31 13:24:13 GMT
    Two thugs were caught on security camera footage beating a teenager and stealing from her inside an apartment building in the Midwood section of Brooklyn.  The NYPD says the attackers are seen dragging the 18-year-old out of an elevator into the hallway and punching and kicking her.
    Police have arrested one of two suspects wanted in the brutal attack of a teenager inside her apartment building in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. The thugs were caught on security camera footage beating the 18-year-old at about 9:34 on Sunday night. The attackers are seen dragging the girl out of an elevator into the hallway and punching and kicking her. Tyler Hopping, 18, was arrested on Wednesday.
  • Dad delivers baby into toilet

    Dad delivers baby into toilet

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:30 AM EDT2014-07-31 12:30:58 GMT
    A Connecticut father proudly helped deliver his own baby... into a toilet.
    A Connecticut father proudly helped deliver his own baby... into a toilet.
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:18:29 GMT
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
  • Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:55:10 GMT
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
  • Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:33:46 GMT
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices