Kent-Ionia Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Growing and strengthening west Michigan's middle class

Organizing a priority for west Michigan labor community

GRAND RAPIDS March 31, 2015– Earlier this year, the Kent-Ionia Labor Council surveyed the west Michigan labor community on issues we should be focusing on for the year ahead. Responses came in from elected union leaders, rank-and-file members, retirees, union households and community supporters. After sorting through the results, it’s clear that organizing needs to be a priority for Kent-Ionia Labor in 2015 and beyond.


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ORGANIZING

Over 80% of respondents say organizing is either pretty important or very important (a priority) for their local union.

In regard to trainings and workshops, the topic local leadership would be most interested in learning more about was: Offensive (As Opposed to Defensive) Bargaining.

The training topic rank-and-file members and retirees would be most interested in learning more about was: What Right-to-Work Means for the Future of Michigan Labor.

Other training topics the west Michigan labor community are interested in are:

  • Organizing around past practice (80% of local leadership)
  • Effective debriefs (60% of local leadership)
  • Basics of public sector organizing (56% of rank-and-file and retirees)
  • Basics of community organizing (56% of rank-and-file and retirees; 80% of local leadership)
  • Basics of building trades organizing (56% of rank-and-file and retirees)
  • Differences between card check and election campaigns (55% of rank-and-file and retirees)

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POLICY

On the topic of politics and issue campaigns, most respondents agreed that it’s important for west Michigan labor to recruit and train candidates, as well as campaign volunteers, but the priority for respondents was to tackle issues through ballot initiatives, legislative action and community organizing.

Wages and healthcare are the issues that are the most important to the west Michigan labor community.

The top three issues for west Michigan labor to tackle in the year ahead, from the perspective of local union leadership, are:

  • Wages (wage stagnation, minimum wage, wage theft, living wage); 100% agree it’s important for west Michigan labor to address this
  • Healthcare (Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, nurse ratios, aging populations); 86% say it’s important for west Michigan labor to address this
  • Public safety funding (police, fire, rescue); 71% say it’s important for west Michigan labor to address this

The top three issues, from the perspective of rank-and-file members and retirees, are:

  • Wages (wage stagnation, minimum wage, wage theft, living wage); 86% say this issue is very important for west Michigan labor to address
  • Healthcare (Obamacare, Medicaid, Medicare, nurse ratios, aging populations); 63% say this this issue is very important for west Michigan to address
  • Education (Common Core, charter schools, college tuition affordability, EAA); 52% say this issue is very important for west Michigan labor to address

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STRATEGIC PLANNING AND RESOURCE ALLOCATION

The results of this survey will help the Kent-Ionia Labor Council officers shape the KICLC’s vision and strategic plan for the next year, through trainings, guest speakers, community organizing, political and legislative actions, and public relations.

“We have to be very thoughtful with the limited resources we have,” said KICLC president Sean Egan (IBEW Local 275). “So it makes sense to be strategic in how we spend our money, utilize volunteers and develop partnerships within the community.”

Stay tuned and check back with KICLC.org on a regular basis as the strategic plan for 2015 and beyond is finalized and implemented.

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Information

This entry was posted on March 31, 2015 by in Organizing news and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Kent-Ionia Labor Council

The Kent-Ionia Labor Council, AFL-CIO is a coalition of west Michigan labor unions in Kent and Ionia Counties, based in Grand Rapids.

Address, phone, email

918 Benjamin NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
616-456-8233
info@KICLC.org

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