The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, December 22, 2017

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman



Prevailing wage rally set for Jan. 10

LANSING - A rally is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10 at the State Capitol Building in Lansing to show support for the state's prevailing wage law.

The capitol is near 124 Capitol Avenue, Lansing MI 48933.

"Let the people decide" is the theme - the building trades want Michigan voters, not the state Legislature - to ultimately decide on whether the Michigan Prevailing Wage Act is retained. If a  petition drive completed this year has enough valid signatures,  prevailing wage repeal legislation will be sent to the state Legislature in January for a vote. If there are a majority of yes votes in the state House and Senate, the prevailing wage law is repealed. If there are a majority of no votes in either chamber, it means the prevailing wage repeal question goes before Michigan voters next November.

Before going, please go to www.michiganbuildingtrades.org for updates on the rally. 


Unemployment Agency reforms are coming

LANSING - A bipartisan package of bills to institute reforms at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency cleared the state House in November and then the Senate on Dec. 13, and were immediately headed for Gov. Snyder's signature.

The reforms are aimed at cleaning up the mess at the agency, which falsely issued thousands of fraud allegations and assessed fines against jobless workers in Michigan who sought UIA benefits, many of whom spent thousands of dollars of their money on legal fees to clear their record.

“Nine months ago," said House Democratic Leader Sam Singh (D-East Lansing),  "House Democrats outlined ways to fix the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency and ensure that Michiganders who were falsely accused of fraud were made whole. I am pleased that we approved this package of bills today to ensure that the problems that led to 44,000 false fraud allegations will not happen again. However, our work on this issue is not over. While this package of bills is a step in the right direction, it does not make those wrongly accused workers and their families whole. House Democrats have a plan to do just that, and I hope that we can now turn our attention to our bills in committee and pass those as well.”

Said state Rep. Martin Howrylak (R-Troy): "It speaks volumes that this legislation passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. These landmark reforms will significantly enhance the quality of service provided by the UIA and I look forward to this package being signed into law by the Governor."

The bills, according to the news service MIRS, create a new identity theft verification structure within the UIA that have new checks to verify that those who are applying for unemployment benefits are legit. They create an advocacy program for the accused, stop the UIA from being able to charge interest when the state overpays someone, cuts down on the penalties from 400 percent to 100 percent and create some waivers for economic hardships. 

“These bills are by no means comprehensive, nor are they perfect," said AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber.  Indeed, there is still more work that must be done to make things right for people who were falsely accused of unemployment fraud by Governor Snyder’s administration, and maliciously challenged in court by Attorney General Bill Schuette. However, this bipartisan legislation will go a long way towards preventing another disaster like this from happening again.”