Last week we noted (in this post) the inflammatory and insulting comments at the Michigan state AFL-CIO convention by Andy Levin, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth’s deputy director. To again quote the news account:
Levin, who worked in the national AFL-CIO’s organizing department for 10 years, said the only way to stop the “terror campaign” that companies initiate after workers vote to form a union is to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which contains stiff penalties for such abuses.
That’s typical ugly union bluster, but it’s not a union official fulminating, is it? It’s a state official whose duties include business recruitment and workforce development. For Levin to accuse employers of leading “terror campaigns” is outrageous, obviously.
Saul Anuzis, the state Republican Party chairman, called on Levin’s ultimate boss, Governor Jennifer Granholm, to fire Levin — news release here — and as an aggressive partisan has been keeping up the drumbeat on the issue. (UPDATE, 11:30 a.m.: Anuzis interview on WJR’s Paul W. Smith show.)
Now, the nonpartisan Michigan Chamber of Commerce has expressed its views via a letter from Jim Barrett, the Chamber’s president and CEO, to Keith W. Cooley, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth.
I am writing to express the Michigan Chamber’s outrage and disappointment in Deputy Director Andy Levin’s inflammatory comments at the 27th Biennial Convention of the AFL-CIO where he characterized the actions of Michigan employers exercising their legal rights against unionization efforts as “terror campaign[s]” and called for the passage of the so-called federal Employee Free Choice Act. In that same speech, Mr. Levin called for the enactment of a graduated Michigan income tax.
Mr. Levin’s advocacy for the so-called Employee Free Choice Act and a graduated income tax undermines his ability to fulfill his current job responsibilities. DLEG administers the Labor and Mediation Act (LMA), a statute regulating collective bargaining relationships between private sector unions and small private sector employers, and the Bureau of Employment Relations, which is responsible for resolving labor disputes between public and private sector employers and employees. Given his recent remarks and obvious biases, how can Mr. Levin and the administration of Governor Granholm make fair determinations in labor-related matters?
Good question. Good letter. You can read a copy of it in .pdf format here.
Barrett ends his letter by encouraging Cooley and his associates “to fairly administer your responsibilities, and not act as propagandists for labor unions against employers.” Seems like a reasonable request to make of public servants.
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