News Story

A Public Employee Union Response

Recently, the incoming Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio have discussed the possibility of eliminating public sector unions (see

One Michigan labor leader shares his thoughts:

Phillip Thompson

Executive Vice President

Michigan Public Employees, SEIU Local 517M

These types of news articles—in Wisconsin as well as the recent WSJ guest editorial from Gov Tim Pawlenty (Minn) which labeled public workers’ Unions as “exploiters”, do little to foster meaningful and productive conversations between elected officials and public workers. It is SEIU’s sincere desire that Governor-elect Snyder takes a much more constructive approach to solving the state’s financial challenges by widening his discussions to include the front line workers—who often know best how to develop efficiencies and cost savings in the delivery of public services to Michigan’s hard-working citizens.

Saying that public workers should not be allowed to have a meaningful voice in their workplace—often through their Unions—is basically telling these workers that their opinions and suggestions have no merit. In Michigan, almost 45,000 state workers are currently preparing to have candid, forthright, and productive conversations with the new Governor and his management team through their respective Union leadership. Over these past eight years, state employees and their families have made significant sacrifices in their pay, pensions, and benefit levels to do their part in addressing our state’s continuous budget issues.  In this past year alone, state employees voted to modify their collective bargaining agreements which resulted in almost $100 million in savings.

Remember, State employees in Michigan are also Michigan taxpayers who “buy Michigan” products, send their children to Michigan public schools, and support Michigan charities. It is time to stop all the vitriolic and divisive talk about “destroying public worker Unions”, and begin a real dialogue about working together to fix Michigan problems.


See also:

What is the Future for Michigan's Public Employee Unions?