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To Thrive, Not Just Survive

Miller Cohen attorney Keith Flynn, the Chair of the Genesee County Democratic Party's Policy Committee and Genesee County's delegate to the April Convention's Resolutions Committee, after consultation with a number of labor delegates, drafted and presented the resolution "To Thrive, Not Survive" at the convention of the Genesee County Democratic Party in Flint. It was passed unanimously. The resolution was also unanimously adopted on presentation by Miller Cohen attorney Jeremy Fisher at the 9th Congressional District Democratic Party Convention chaired by Miller Cohen attorney Robert Fetter. The resolution was heard by the April Convention's Resolutions Committee where Miller Cohen attorneys Keith Flynn (serving as a delegate from the 5th District Democratic Party) and Richard Mack (serving as a delegate from the 14th District Democratic Party) assisted in the adoption of the resolution with some minor changes. This resolution will go to the State Convention for action. The Resolution appears below.

This resolution is a comprehensive statement of the current status of the labor movement, the condition of working people and the conduct of their enemies. Resolutions at the Convention are often presented and passed without discussion. We think this resolution provides an opportunity to educate a new generation of Democratic delegates on the problems that face working people and the labor movement. It should not be adopted pro forma, but serve as a vehicle for a full discussion on the state of the middle class in a Trumpian era.

Resolution in Support of Michigan Workers

WHEREAS, from 1980 to 2014, the pretax income received by the American Middle-Class has stagnated or declined while costs have grown out of control for necessities like energy, healthcare, or education; and

WHEREAS, many Americans have watched as their health insurance premiums, deductibles, and co-pays have ballooned while their retirement benefits have shrunk; and

WHEREAS, the income of the wealthiest Americans grew by 636% from 1980 to 2014 with the top 1% earning on average 81 times more than the bottom 50%; and

WHEREAS, American workers are responsible for the creation of that wealth, but have seen little of it in compensation for their hard work and dedication; and

WHEREAS, the Republican Party believes that the strength of the economy should be measured by the number of jobs created or the amount of corporate welfare provided to businesses as opposed to being measured by whether the average American is actually better off; and

WHEREAS, while the unemployment rate has continued to decline since January 2010, wages and benefits continue to stagnate or shrink for Working and Middle-Class Americans; and

WHEREAS, in that same span of time, the Republican Party, both nationally and locally, has and continues to engage in a concerted effort with anti-labor interest groups to undermine the rights of American workers to form and join labor unions and to collectively bargain with their employers; and

WHEREAS, workers who are unionized receive on average 13.6% more in wages, are 28.2% more likely to receive employer-provided health insurance benefits, and are 53.9% more likely to earn employer-provided pension benefits; and

WHEREAS, the number of American workers represented by unions has declined from 26.7% in 1973 to just 13.1% in 2011; and

WHEREAS, certain companies have turned our cities against one another to compete for jobs and economic development leading cities on a race to the bottom with each struggling to provide the largest tax subsidy; and

WHEREAS, even though these companies receive enormous subsidies to bring good paying jobs to the area, these companies then pay their employees substandard wages and benefits and engage in abusive employment practices, such as union busting; and

WHEREAS, it is incredibly difficult to raise a family on these substandard wages and benefits with many Americans forced to live paycheck to paycheck such as Americans no longer needing just one job, but being forced to take at least two just to make ends meet with the majority of Americans just one emergency away from financial ruin; and

WHEREAS, instead of doing something about the widening income inequality in our country, the Republican Party has passed a tax bill that provides massive tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest few while at the same time attempting to push millions of low-income Americans off of health insurance; and

WHEREAS, Governor Snyder signed into law and implemented the Michigan Business Development Program that provides corporate welfare to companies who promise to create good paying jobs in the State of Michigan; and

WHEREAS, Michigan, under Republican leadership, has relaxed these obligations over time and has failed to hold these companies to their promise squandering taxpayer dollars; and

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Michigan Democratic Party goes on the record to reaffirm its dedication to the rights of American workers and expects that our lawmakers redouble their efforts to bring not just any jobs, but good jobs to the State of Michigan that pay a living wage and provide Michigan workers with benefits and a path to retirement; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party expects that lawmakers will support proven strategies for economic development, such as investing in public infrastructure and education, including K-12, higher education, and vocational training-to prepare the Michigan workforce for an emerging blue and green economy; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Michigan Democratic Party expects that both federal and state legislators enforce the promises made by companies who receive taxpayer dollars, including their pledges to create good paying jobs

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