WCDP News: Celebrating Juneteenth, supporting our educators, and more

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Take action now to support our educators

June 30 is a major legislative deadline: the current session ends, and our hard-working legislators go home to their districts for nearly two months. Before they go, we need them to vote to extend union protections to public sector workers – specifically, educators.

Our Democratic legislature has been union-friendly, repealing so-called “Right to Work” laws that have hampered unions and driven down wages, and instituting “prevailing wage” to ensure that employees working on government contracts receive union-level wages and benefits.

Now for our educators. Michigan schools need more teachers; union protections can help with recruitment. Improved working conditions for teachers = improved learning conditions for children.

Here are the bills we need to move before June 30:

  • HB-4354-57, SB 185, and SB 359 grant public sector employees the right to negotiate health care coverage as part of their compensation package through collective bargaining. Right now, only private sector employees can do so.  
  • HB 4233 and SB 169 makes it easier for K-12 teachers to pay union dues as part of their standard payroll deductions, and for unions to contact their members to make representation more effective and on point. These streamlined processes allow unions and teachers to focus on improving working conditions and ensuring that every child receives the education they deserve.
  • HB 4044 protects educators during contract negotiations by eliminating penalties on them when a contract expires during collective bargaining. Without this provision in the law, employers have an incentive to drag out negotiations, and workers are punished for not acceding to demands they find unreasonable.

To advance this legislation, we need to get the House bills (HB) into the Senate for consideration, and the Senate bills (SB) into the House.

Here’s what to do

Email your state senator and representative and let them know you support our educators:

Sen. Jeff M. Irwin (SenJIrwin@senate.michigan.gov)
Sen. Sue Shink (SenSShink@senate.michigan.gov)

Say (in your own words): “Please ask Leader Brinks to ensure that SB185, SB259, and SB169 are passed on to the respective House committees before June 30.”

Rep. Jennifer Conlin (JenniferConlin@house.mi.gov)
Rep. Carrie Rheingans (CarrieRheingans@house.mi.gov)
Rep. Jason Morgan (JasonMorgan@house.mi.gov)
Rep. Reggie Miller (ReggieMiller@house.mi.gov)
Rep. Jimmie Wilson (JimmieWilson@house.mi.gov)
Rep. Felicia Brabec (FeliciaBrabec@house.mi.gov)

Say (in your own words):  “Please ask Speaker Tate to ensure that HB4354-57, HB4233, and HB4044 are passed on to the respective Senate committees before June 30.”

Because two members of our Democratic majority in the House are running for election to local mayorships this fall, we’re at risk of losing our slim majority in the House. If these bills don’t make it through now, they’re likely toast until 2024 – assuming we re-elect a Dem majority in both Michigan legislative branches.

Let’s use the power we have in this scant two years to protect our public-sector educators. Thanks for your action!

This Weekend: Celebrating Juneteenth June 16-June 18

June 17: Statewide Day of Action to End Gun Violence

Join St. Aidan’s, Moms Demand Action, Physicians for the Prevention of Gun Violence, and End Gun Violence Michigan-Ann Arbor to celebrate the passage of the universal background check, safe storage, and red flag laws, educating the community, and honoring survivors and victims of gun violence.

Location: St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, 1679 Broadway St
Schedule: 11:00am – Speakers and Serenity Walk in Nature Habitat

RSVP here

June 17: Addressing Anti-Asian Hate

Journey to Solutionsis a webinar on combating Anti-Asian sentiment in memory of Vincent Chin.

Hear from:

  • U of Michigan Asst. Professor Melissa Borja
  • MI State Senator Stephanie Chang
  • MAPAAC Chair Ayesha Ghazi Edwin
  • Roland Hwang
  • Ceena Vang

Moderated by:

  • Assistant Prof. lan Shin
  • OCA Executive Director Thu Nguyen

WHEN: June 17, 2023 @ 1pm
RSVP: https://bit.ly/acaoca06172023

Visibility Committee Call for Volunteers

The WCDP’s Visibility Committee is looking for volunteers to help us ring the county with our friendly faces. We show up at local events to build connections and community with Democrats across every corner of the county. We’ve had great fun and great success so far reaching out to folks in Ypsilanti, Milan, Chelsea and Ann Arbor, and we are growing voters and members.
We need you! Come join us for a 2-3 hour shift at one or more of the following June-July events: 

  • Ann Arbor Juneteenth 
    celebration on Saturday, June 17th
  • Ann Arbor Art Fair from Thursday July 20-Saturday, July 22nd
  • Chelsea Sounds and Sights on Thursday Nights
  • Ann Arbor Farmers’ Market on Saturdays
  • Ann Arbor Fourth of July Parade on Sunday, July 2
  • Ypsilanti Fourth of July Parade on Tuesday, July 4

 Even if none of these dates work for you but you are interested in learning about volunteer occasions later in the summer, Sign Up Here and a member of our team will be in touch.

Countering Hate – a National Strategy

For the first time in US history, the White House has developed THE US NATIONAL STRATEGY TO COUNTER ANTISEMITISM (PDF).

In the introduction, President Biden writes that the strategy “brings Americans together—regardless of our backgrounds and beliefs—to stand united against the hate, racism, bigotry, and violence that have long haunted our Nation. The Strategy outlines a whole-of-society effort to combat antisemitism . . . and also serves as a blueprint for tackling other forms of bigotry, hate, and bias that fuel toxic divisions in America.” We are thankful for this compassionate, determined, and effective administration every day!

Save the date for our annual Garden Party: Saturday, July 15th, with a rain date of Sunday, July 16th . Watch this space for updates and ticket sales.

Friends and Family Picnic Postponed

Our annual Friends and Family Picnic has been indefinitely postponed.  Please enjoy June 25th with your friends and family, and watch this space for updates on a new date and location. 

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