Professor Tom Weisskopf on the Minimum Wage Increase in Michigan

In a video for the Huron Valley Central Labor Council, University of Michigan Economics Professor (Emeritus) Tom Weisskopf makes a case for the minimum wage increase ballot initiative in Michigan:

To learn more about the campaign and to get involved, visit the Michigan United – Raise the Wage campaign page.


Income Inequality Hurts Growth; Redistribution Doesn’t

A new report from researchers from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) finds that not only is rising inequality a drag on economic growth, but that policies designed to lessen inequality through a moderate level of redistribution do not slow growth. While the report is clear in stating it isn’t the official opinion or policy of the IMF, researchers Jonathan D. Ostry, Andrew Berg and Charalambos G. Tsangarides make a compelling case that austerity policies are bad for economic growth and that it isn’t just morally sound to reduce income inequality, it’s the economically wise choice, too. While countries have pursued policies focused heavily on deficit reduction and lower government spending, the new report suggests those legislative priorities may be the wrong approach to economic growth, joining a growing chorus of evidence from economic analysts that is pushing for a move away from austerity.

More specifically, the researchers found that societies with higher levels of inequality have slower economic growth that is more fragile. They suggest that inequality doesn’t “take care of itself” as austerity proponents suggest, and that more equal societies actually produce higher levels of growth, regardless of how much redistribution the country has, unless the system has a very high level of redistribution. The overwhelming majority of countries in their sample showed no negative effects on growth from redistribution.

In an editorial in the Financial Times (registration required), Ostry sums up the research:

Put these two observations together and you come to an important conclusion for policy. Making the tax system modestly more redistributive seems to have little direct effect on growth. Over time, however, it will result in a more equal distribution of income—and that, in turn, seems to lead to higher growth. Taking into account the direct effect of redistribution, and the indirect effect that operates through reduced inequality, we find that average levels of redistribution are associated with higher and more durable growth. Even large redistributions—undertaken presumably with the goal of improving equality—do not seem to carry a clear growth cost….

But we do see an important lesson. If there were a big trade-off between redistribution and growth, as has long been assumed, one would expect to see evidence of it in a study like ours. Our conclusion is rather that the measures that governments have typically taken to reduce inequality do not seem to have stunted growth.

Read the full report

HVCLC Co-Hosts Friends of Public Education Event

This Saturday, from noon to 2pm, in cooperation with the Ann Arbor Education Association, HVCLC is co-hosting a Friends of Public Education Event at Skyline High School, 2552 N. Maple Rd., Ann Arbor.

Call 734-996-5858 if you have questions.

The following candidates will be there to meet with us and answer our questions about their positions on important issues relating to public education:

Gubernatorial candidate Mark Schauer

Congressman Gary Peters

Congressional candidate Pam Byrnes

Senator Rebekah Warren

State Representatives Adam Zemke, Jeff Irwin, Gretchen Driskell and David Rutledge




HVCLC Endorses Minimum Wage Increase and Expanded Public Transit Campaigns

At our monthly meeting on Tuesday 3/4/14, the Officers and Delegates of the Huron Valley Central Labor Council voted unanimously to endorse and support two important campaigns that will benefit working people in Washtenaw and Livingston counties:

1. The campaign to increase MI’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and replace the tipped minimum wage with the standard minimum wage, via a ballot initiative that we would vote on this November; and

2. The campaign to increase the millage supporting public transit in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti township, to provide for a 44% improvement in bus services — this will be voted on in a special election to be held on Tuesday, May 6th.

Stay tuned for more on these campaigns and how organized labor will be supporting them!

CLC President Emeritus, Brother Fred Veigel Has Passed Away

Message from Michigan AFL-CIO President, Karla Swift

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that former Huron Valley Central Labor Council President Brother Fred Veigel, passed away on Sunday, March 2, 2014.

We here at the Michigan State AFL-CIO and the entire Michigan Labor Movement owe a debt of gratitude to Brother Veigel for his lifetime of service to the men and women of this state, for his unparalleled conviction to the Labor Movement and for his distinguished career in politics.

Fred Veigel’s contributions to the Michigan Labor Movement began as member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 252 in 1954.  During his distinguished career, he served as Business Manager and in numerous other elected and appointed positions within the IBEW, as well as Field Representative for the Michigan State Building and Construction Trades Council.

Fred Veigel was first elected President of the Huron Valley Labor Central Labor Council in 1969 and thanks to the hard work and dedication of  Brother Veigel, the Huron Valley Central Labor Council now represents 34 affiliated local unions with more than 13,000 members in Washtenaw and Livingston counties. Brother Veigel held the distinction of being the longest serving President of any Central Labor Council in the history of the AFL-CIO.

As a General Board member and Speakers Bureau member of the National AFL-CIO and General Board member of the Michigan State AFL-CIO, Brother Veigel’s dedication and passion earned him reputation as a fighter, as he relentlessly pursued increased protections for working men and women, union and non-union alike.

In addition to his many accomplishments in the Labor Movement, Brother Veigel was a United States Army Veteran and was in his third term on the Washtenaw County Road Commission.

Prior to his passing on Sunday, officers of the Huron Valley Central Labor Council presented Brother Veigel with the distinction of  President Emeritus.  Attached is a picture of him after receiving his plaque (text of plaque below).

Picture of Fred Veigel - Thursday 2-27-14I was very fortunate to be able to visit with Fred on Wednesday, February 26th while he was in the hospital.  He was, as always, quick-witted and  spirited.

We, here at the Michigan State AFL-CIO, will continue to honor Brother Veigel and his many contributions by continuing to fight the good fight.

Please see below for information on visitation and services.

In solidarity,
Karla Swift
President Michigan State AFL-CIO

Visitation and Services

Nie Funeral Home
3767 W. Liberty Rd.
Ann Arbor

Saturday, March 8th
2:00 – 4:00 p.m.
and 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 9th
11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
and 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Services will be held:
Monday, March 10, 2014
St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Greek Church
3109 Scio Church Rd.
Ann Arbor

President Emeritus Plaque Text

“In recognition of a lifetime of dedicated and distinguished service as President of the Huron Valley Central Labor Council, making him the longest serving President of an AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, the Executive Board of the HVCLC and Rich Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO, are proud to make Fred Veigel, President emeritus of the Huron Valley  Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Brother Veigel, from all of us at the HVCLC, a heartfelt thank-you for all you’ve done for organized labor and working people in our communities and our state!

HVCLC Executive Board
Ian Robinson, President
Steve Gulick, Vice-President
Wes Prater, Vice-President
Katie Oppenheim, Vice-President
Nancy Heine, Vice-President
James Vaughn, Treasurer
Sheila Pedersen, Secretary
Ron Motsinger, Trustee
Isaac Epstein, Trustee
Francis Borzo, Sergeant-at-Arms’