On Wednesday, September 20, 2017, SEIU 517M members were some of over 500 State employees who rallied together to call on Governor Snyder’s Civil Service Commission to stand up for Michigan families not corporate greed. Two SEIU Local 517M Members joined with members of other state employee unions and politicians addressing the rally that was held before the Civil Service Commission meeting began. SEIU 517M members who spoke were Tim Gierman, a Wildlife Technician (Pictured Right), and Janice Cosey, a Unemployment Insurance Examiner.
“We are not lazy. We are not overpaid. We are working class citizens who pay taxes and work hard to support our families. Like all workers, we deserve competitive wages, decent benefits and to be treated with respect.” said Janice Cosey, Unemployment Insurance Examiner. (Pictured Left)
“But, Governor Snyder and his Commission want the public to think otherwise. So they can continue to push a rigged system that puts corporate greed before hard working families.”
In the Commission meeting, SEIU 517M had several members speak out against the proposed rule changes both in the official Union comment period as well as the public comment time. The official comments for the Local were made by the unit presidents and the SEIU 517M President. (Pictured L-R: Scientific and Engineering Unit President Dave Berridge, Human Services Support Unit President Joey Combs, Local 517M President George Heath, and Technical Unit President Arnie Beller) (Photo Courtesy of Anita Lloyd, MCO)
Though hundreds of people packed the Commission hearing, speaking out against the proposed changes, Commissioners Jase Bolger, Janet McClelland, and Jame Barrett, all Governor Snyder appointees, voted to pass these rules and against worker’s rights to negotiate for fair wages and benefits. With a history of anti-union, pro-corporate greed, it is no surprise that both Jase Bolger and James Barrett pushed these rules forward and put corporate and political self-interests before the people they are appointed to represent. However, it was with grave disappointment that Commissioner Janet McClelland, a former civil servant herself, voted against State employees.
Once implemented, these changes will directly affect our working conditions, overtime, scheduling, seniority and harm our families by punitively transferring employees with no recourse. Already working under low morale, this is just another blow to State employees.
Though these rule changes have passed, workers need the Union now more than ever.
If Governor Snyder is allowed to further push for policies and rules that put wealth into the pockets of the few at the expense of us the many and continues to attack middle class families, we will end up like another Wisconsin. Since Wisconsin workers lost all collective bargaining rights, workers there have lost more than $8000 in yearly wages and benefits.
We are part of the middle class that keeps Michigan’s economy going and now more than ever we must stand together and keep fighting against this race to the bottom in wages and benefits.
Elections have consequences and we need to recognize that and what it means to us next year.