Michigan Moves to Repeal “Right-to-Work” – Israeli Soldiers Walk Off the Job – Unions Object to DNC Being in Atlanta

Michigan Gretchen Whitmer is poised to repeal "right-to-work" legislation passed in 2012 (AP)


Greetings from the Burgh, where we have been receiving many emails and phone calls about our story on Congresswoman Summer Lee mocking the local AFL-CIO for backing pro-fracking Democrats that often lose in primary elections. 

(Check out the story here)

DNC Site Selection Hinges on Labor Disputes 

In the next few weeks, President Joe Biden is expected to decide where the Democratic Party will host the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Labor issues are already playing a significant role in site selection. 

Atlanta was seen as an early favorite, but then several labor leaders objected to the convention being held in a city with so few union hotels. Now, some are attempting to push Chicago as the site of the 2024 DNC. 

However, over 650 shift workers at the United Center, where the DNC would be hosted, are currently on strike.

“I’ve been here for over three decades. April will be 33 years for me. And they do not give me health insurance. I do have health insurance, but I pay for it out of pocket — over $400 a month,” Jamie O’Neill, concession stand manager at United Center, told WLS. 

For more, check out WLS. 

Michigan Moves Quickly to Repeal “Right-to-Work” 

With Michigan Democrats firmly in control of the Governorship and both houses of the state legislature for the first time since 1983, Democrats are moving quickly to repeal “right-to-work” legislation passed in 2012. Today, a committee advanced repeal legislation to the State House floor, and the full house is expected to vote on the measure before spring break. 

A repeal of “right-to-work” legislation could result in a gain of tens of thousands of new union members in Michigan at a time when union membership in the private sector in the state has shrunk over the last decade from 11.3% in 2012 to 9.1% in 2022. 

If passed, it would mark the first time in 58 years that a state has repealed “right-to-work” legislation. 

For more, check out the Detroit News. 

Israeli Army Soldiers Go on Strike 

As the right-wing government in Israel attempts to implement laws that would limit the independence of the judiciary, many soldiers in Israel, where conscription is mandatory, are walking off the job. From 972 Magazine: 

Thousands of Israeli soldiers and reservists have made public statements announcing their intent to refuse army service should the government’s legislation pass. One such statement had over 250 signatures of reserve soldiers, all from the army’s special ops unit, stating the legislation is intent on “making the judicial branch a political and non-independent branch, in other words an end for Israeli democracy.” A second, similar statement of refusal garnered over 500 signatures of reserve soldiers, all from “Unit 8200,” an intelligence unit often compared to the U.S. National Security Agency. 

Meanwhile, according to media reports, almost every Israeli army unit — including the Sayeret Matkal commandos and other elite forces — is facing a revolt from within. Internal army chat groups are reportedly flooded with rank-and-file soldiers stating they either refuse or will refuse to serve if the judicial coup succeeds. Dissent in the air force — one of the Israeli army’s most revered divisions — has been of particular concern for the military leadership, according to press reports.

In a message on an internal air force WhatsApp group quoted in Haaretz, for example, one pilot announced that instead of serving one day a week as a reserve soldier, he will now use that day to demonstrate against the government. Another new refuser said that if the legislation is approved, the army’s ability to address security threats “will be damaged, without a doubt,” emphasizing that “There are whole units, especially in the intelligence area but also in the technology area, that are dependent on reserve service year-round.” On Sunday, almost all the reserve pilots of Squadron 69, one of the air force’s most elite teams, declared to their commanders that they, too, would refuse service should the judicial plans go ahead.

For more, check out 972. 

News & Strikes Happening Elsewhere

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About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. A native of Pittsburgh, Elk grew up in a UE union family. Elk was the only American reporter in the room with Lula on the morning of the election & traveled with him to the Oval Office. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and attended journalism school at PUC-Rio de Janeiro. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburgh fluently. His email is [email protected]

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