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Posted on Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Washtenaw County may expedite union negotiations to defer effects of right-to-work

By Amy Biolchini

To preserve union rights in the face of right-to-work legislation passed by the lame duck Michigan legislature in December, Washtenaw County may choose to expedite the negotiation of most of its union contracts.


The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners at its first meeting of the new term in January.

Amy Biolchini | file photo

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners will be considering a resolution Wednesday night drafted by first-term Commissioner Andy LaBarre, D-Ann Arbor, that both condemns right-to-work and instructs county administration to start talks with the unions ahead of schedule.

Right-to-work laws remove the security clause in union contracts that require employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment.

“To protect that (security) clause, it would have to be extended prior to the law kicking in,” said Administrator Verna McDaniel.

Employees can receive union benefits without paying to be a member of the organization -- which is a point of contention amongst those opposed to right-to-work, including LaBarre.


Andy LaBarre

“Even though the state has made this choice, we as a local community don’t support that policy,” LaBarre said.

LaBarre’s resolution calls right-to-work legislation "designed to weaken labor unions and their ability to serve their members,” and details the positive impacts that annual union trade organization training events have on the Ann Arbor area: Namely, about $12 million that’s pumped into the county’s economy each year.

The resolution calls for the notification of labor organizations that the county does not support right-to-work, and for communications of the same effect to be sent to state legislators and the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The resolution also calls for Administrator McDaniel and Human Resources and Labor Relations Director Diane Heidt to negotiate agreements with about 13 unions whose contracts expire at the end of this year before the right-to-work laws take effect March 27.

The task would be challenging on the short schedule, McDaniel said, noting her office is already doing background work in preparation.

“We’ll have to drop everything (to get it done),” McDaniel said.

McDaniel said major union representatives have asked the county administrators to renegotiate their contracts, though LaBarre said he came up with the language of the resolution on his own.

At a January working session of the board on local impacts of right-to-work, Commissioner Dan Smith, R-Northfield Township said he did not think county government should be passing resolutions on state policy -- a stance he has consistently maintained on past issues.


Dan Smith

“Andy’s cast a wide net with this resolution and went to areas I’m not in favor of regardless of the topic,” Smith said. “We shouldn’t interfere in things that aren’t our purview.”

Smith said the part of the resolution directing county staff to enter into contract negotiations with unions is a policy issue, which he said is a topic that the board of commissioners is within its means to address.

“I think we could discuss county policy without that rhetoric,” Smith said.

If the unions have come forward to county administration asking for expedited contract negotiations, Smith said it may not be necessary for the board of commissioners to direct staff to do so.

Democrats have a 7-2 majority on the Board of Commissioners.

A lawsuit is under way in Michigan aimed to halt right-to-work brought by multiple parties including the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, State Sen. Rebekah Warren, D-Ann Arbor, and the Michigan Education Association.

During the January working session of the board, LaBarre and other commissioners expressed concern that lucrative union training events sited in Ann Arbor each year would relocate because of the passage of right-to-work. The unions have stated they'll stay in town this year, but the Michigan labor climate will be a point of discussion for future event plans.

LaBarre said the resolution is in the county’s best interest economically and organizationally to remain a labor-friendly place.

“This resolution is my best effort to send that message in relation to the conventions and economic activity, and to put more than just words here,” LaBarre said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Middle America

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 11:56 a.m.

"Unions are awful and they are destroying America and people these days are lazy and they don't understand hard work and there is way more crime now than back in my day when I worked for GM screwing knobs into car doors and hey, that reminds me, I need to make sure my pension check came in the mail! Anyway, stupid unions!" -A Baby Boomer


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 10:50 p.m.

Interesting to see the unions willing to open up their contracts early so they can "sneak" one pass the law. The exact thing that they complained about when the law was passed. I wonder if these same unions would have been for opening their contracts early for negotiations if it were asked of them to help the county save additional money? Or would they have said "A contract is a contract and we bargained in good faith and now we need to live by it!"


Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:48 p.m.

average joe, You are correct. This is the union's problem not the board of commissioner's. Why are they trying to fix the union's problem when they should be fixing problems that affect everyone. Oh, wait, could it be the democrats need to keep the money flowing from the union so they can have enough money in their war chest to get reelected? Nah, that couldn't be it.

average joe

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 11:46 p.m.

Excellent points. There really isn't a truly valid reason to rush contract negotiations, which by Ms. McDaniel's comment indicates that it may require overtime to accomplish this before the law takes effect. This really is nothing more than a public board taking a political stance and doing an 'end around' on a law they don't agree with, and certainly not something they should be initiating since it isn't 'their problem', but rather the union's.

Tom Todd

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 7:32 p.m.

All these college grads with degrees in basket weaving are ticked because they can't get a great paying job supervising blue collar folks on the line at the big three, have it out for the hardworking blue collar men and women in this state.

Tom Todd

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 10:32 p.m.

"Judy" are you saying you favor the white collar worker more.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 7:58 p.m.

For your information I work for anon-union manufacturer and have for 29 years and make a far wage. On the other hand my husband had to give up his job of 10 years of paying union dues to the TEAMS because in 2010 we could not live on him working only 1 day a week while his brothers worked 40+ hours a week. Oh! the TEAMS also would not refund his money after he told them for a year he did not want their health insurance because he was on my health insurance. So "Tom Todd" do not tell me about the "middle class" and "hardworking blue collar men and women.

Great Lakes Lady

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

"To date, the SEIU (union) has taken more than $34 million from the elderly and disabled in Michigan." A caretaker was interviewed, and on the radio stated she didn't know why the money was being taken out of her paycheck and what is was used for. She was asked if she had attended any union meetings. She replied, NO, there were never any union meetings....just deductions from her check. Campaign contributions to the Democratic Party.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 8:56 p.m.

kmgeb2000, These are home-based care givers, not state employees, many of whom recieve medicaid checks to take care of their parents, siblings, or children. Despite being private care-givers, Jennifer Granholm created the MQC3 board to act as their employer, making them state workers organized under the SEIU. These people were private care-givers and sometimes just family members taking care of a developmentally disabled child, not state workers who can bargain for pay, but all of the sudden they had to pay Union dues. I don't know, that sounds pretty shady to me.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

It took about two seconds to go the SEIU (health Care sections) local web site calendar to see the last general meeting was on January 29, 2013 @ 6 PM. Seems to be a few holes in the caretakers story. Google, its not that difficult. That's the rub in a union, if you don't participate can you complain about the representation? Regarding the $34 million, how much profit do you think the health care and nursing home INDUSTRY made last year. Considering its more on the scale of a trillion dollar industry, $34 million is a tiny fraction of the money spent to lobbying by the industry.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Commissioners have to the face the unions every day they show up to work. They only have to face the voters once every two years. Unions win.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:46 p.m.

Actually they face employees who provide Government Service to the citizens of the County they serve. In this case many of whom are union member and citizens as well. All of whom access the very same Government Services they may provide; be they from the jurisdiction they serve or in an adjacent jurisdiction. By they way, pay the same taxes as any other.

Tom Todd

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:22 p.m.

and you have to face your neighbor


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Sure wish Dan Smith would just move a few yards north so he'd be in Livingston County where he belongs.

Basic Bob

Thu, Feb 7, 2013 : 2:57 a.m.

Maybe then we can be annexed to Wayne Co. so we can enjoy real corruption in government firsthand.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:29 p.m.

I hope enough of us show up in protest that this disgusting attempt to subvert the law, at the expense of taxpayers, is stopped. Each and every one of those commissioners who votes for this wasteful plan has shown him or herself to be in the paid pockets of the public-sector union. It's too bad politicians accepting bribes is not a felony in America (it's apparently only a crime to offer a bribe).


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:23 p.m.

Andy LaBarre needs to go back to doing those Bourne Identity movies. Those are fun to watch.

Stephen Landes

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

Per the article, "Employees can receive union benefits without paying to be a member of the organization -- which is a point of contention amongst those opposed to right-to-work, including LaBarre." Amy -- do you know why unions currently are in the position of representing workers who choose to not join a union? Unions have elected to represent all workers in the shops they represent. However, under Federal law they can choose to represent only those people who are members of the union. They have made the choice to represent all workers in order to coerce "representation dues" from non-members. The Michigan Right to Work law frees non-union members form having to pay anything to unions AND unions have to right to include in their next contract a provision to represent ONLY dues paying members. If union membership is such a good thing for workers unions would be advised to change their contracts, represent only dues paying members, and let the difference in treatment of workers drive non-union employees into their arms. Of course unions take a big risk in this regard as they are unlikely to be able to show that unions these days provide real value to employees. Amy, I suggest you do more research on this issue, so you can ask people like LaBarre the questions that really need answers.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

This is tax payer money, right?

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:02 p.m.

"LaBarre and other commissioners expressed concern that lucrative union training events sited in Ann Arbor each year would relocate because of the passage of right-to-work. The unions have stated they'll stay in town this year, but the Michigan labor climate will be a point of discussion for future event plans." This mindset perfectly illuminates the point of Workplace Freedom legislation - it's the statement that we are not going to be threatened and pushed around by these thugs any more. Take a hike - go have your training somewhere else. We're not scared of you anymore.

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Please don't speak for the entire community Mr. LeBarre. You have a fiduciary responsibility to those who pay the bills.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:38 p.m.

Commisioner LeBarre offers no rationale for why extending these contracts is a good financial decision for county government. I know Commisioner LeBarre will need the funds from forced union dues (lets be honest, thats why forced unionization exists) to run for higher office, but it's disgusting that the county is planning on making labor decisions solely on politics.

Dog Guy

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:30 p.m.

How long a union contract term is contemplated? How long before union members are unchained? For how many years will union Uncle Toms be leased down the river? Did owners in the antebellum South refer to their property as "the middle class"?

Tom Todd

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:21 p.m.

Lets hate on Ford's for giving out $8,000 dollar bonus's and not lowering the cost of there vehicle if they have so much profit.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

Your comparison shows an ignorance of the history of slavery in America. Doubly unpleasant during Black History Month.

Jack Gladney

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:20 p.m.

Hey Andy! Here's a great idea if you are actually concerned about attracting conventions in the Ann Arbor-Washtenaw area: Build a friggin actual convention and exhibition center in the area like Lansing and even Novi has.

Ron Smith

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:06 p.m.

Interestingly, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday on a December memo sent by MEA President Steven Cook to local union presidents and board members. It recommends tactics that unions can use to dilute the RTW law. Apparently high on the list is the idea of renegotiating contracts early to lock teachers into paying dues after RTW goes into effect in March. Especially revealing (according to the WSJ report) is how little the memo discusses assisting workers so more will voluntarily join the union but instead, focuses on how to continue "coercing" (emphasis WSJ) workers to keep paying dues. Perhaps Mr. LaBarre got the memo. Respectfully


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:02 p.m.

I always thought unions were about empowering workers. It seems that the unions now think they will be viable only if they force people to join. I think unions are now about political power for union bosses and are no longer about workers rights. Maybe unions would be stronger in the long run , if they rethink what their core mission really is.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:01 p.m.

Unions today are all about collecting dues. Remember the SEIU's dues skimming scheme with Prop 4? The MEA's Steve Cook has said they'll sue their own members who try to leave the union. Unions have consistently fought to make it harder for members to decertify their union, tried to unionize workers without holding elections, and make harder for members to find out where their money is going to. The UAW sold out the wages of its younger workers (as unions are apt to do), but Bob King is flying around the world using dues money to try and organize workers that want no port of the union (in order to collect more dues) while also spending dues money to support causes like abortion and Occupy Wall Street.

Jack Eaton

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:53 p.m.

Let's recall that the "right to work" bills were passed during the lame duck session because the Republicans knew that they would lack the necessary votes to pass it after the new legislature was seated in January. It was the Republicans who sought to circumvent the wishes of the people. The law expressly provides that it does not interfere with contracts in effect as of the date the law goes into effect. Thus, there is nothing wrong with this effort. The radical Republicans, led by Governor Snyder, are waging a war on the middle class. The most effective voice middle class workers have is their unions. In fact, the presence of unions has a positive impact on non-union workers (weekends, safety regulations, pay equity, etc.). "Right to work" will have no impact on creation of jobs. It will reduce wages and reduce an important voice within the Democratic Party. More profits for billionaires, lower taxes on corporations and further advantages for otherwise unpopular Republicans. We live in a community run by Democrats. They serve us well each time they find a way to insulate us from the radical Republicans. If unions and high taxes were an actual impediment to economic prosperity, Ann Arbor (and states such as New York and California) would have worse economies than Alabama, Mississippi and the other impoverished "right to work" states. Thank you Andy LaBarre for working on behalf of fairness. Hopefully, these efforts will enable our town to continue to attract the millions of dollars in business we get from organized labor holding meetings, conferences and training in Ann Arbor.


Sat, Feb 9, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Mr. Eaton - Go back a few more weeks to the proposition to make Unions untouchable in Michigan and the stance that the UAW leadership almost took on the bridge proposal in return for Maroon money. The fact that the UAW leadership did not back a bridge that would bring thousands of UAW jobs to Michigan indicates the issues that exist in the union leadership. I have no problems with unions, I have huge problems with leadership that works against their member's interests.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 9 p.m.

Tom: I am the middle class but I would like the right to choose. Is that so horribly wrong?

Tom Todd

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:18 p.m.

Haters of the Middle class are out in droves today must be watching to much faux news.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:03 p.m.

I think you need to take off the rose colored glass's and look around - The UAW is running Chrysler and GM starting wages for new hires about $15 an hour. If the union is allowed to supercede current contracts the workers will not be able to opt out of the contract, and I'm sure the new contract will be 5+ years in length. Even more shady than legislators working unitl their term expired.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:15 p.m.

Aye, RQ. The placement of the words "economic prosperity" and "California" in the same sentence - or even the same paragraph - is pretty funny.

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

California? New York? ROFLMAO! People are leaving California in droves. Last time I check the economy of Alabama was strong. Mercedes choose Alabama as a manufacturing location. If you are a public employee you work for the taxpayers. Please remember that.

Great Lakes Lady

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

Jack: Your rhetoric "radical" Republicans and "waging war on the middle class" are right out of the Democratic party play book and describe the POTUS you elected and our federal gov't in DC. Please don't insult our intelligence. Give RTW a chance. This state is bleeding jobs. Corporations locate to countries and states with the lowest tax rates. Lower corporate taxes bring jobs to our country and state. We in the private sector are sick and tired of seeing our paychecks diminished by the Obamacare taxes....and supporting government employees Cadillac benefits while ours are diminished. We pay taxes to support our universities....where the best and the brightest have to leave this state because there are NO JOBS. Wake up and smell the coffee.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:51 p.m.

"The radical Republicans, led by Governor Snyder, are waging a war on the middle class." A lie, of course. Yeah, Governor Snyder and other Republicans got together, had a meeting and decided, "Let's wage a war on the middle class. Yeah, that's what we should do. Because that will be good for the state." Sure, in some strange hallucinogenic little corner of your dream world that happened. Maybe.

Tom Todd

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:37 p.m.

ten thumbs up for the Support of the ever dwindling middle class.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

Let's recall that the Right To Work bill enables the rights of the citizens of this country instead of enabling the rights of the union. I have yet to see anything in the US Constitution that says the rights of a labor union are more important than the individual rights of any US Citizen.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:51 p.m.

How much are these clowns receiving from the unions for the re-elction bids?


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

That's the point of this. LeBarre, Smith and Rabhi all have ambitions for higher office and will need union backing to get there.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Weaseling. It's easy to see who actually calls the shots in our government entities. That includes the Road Commission by the way.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:35 p.m.

-Smith said. "We shouldn't interfere in things that aren't our purview."- Yes, the GOP has long been against local control, after they were for it. For example, here are some GOP Platform statements: Massachusetts: "...Supports local control of energy related projects" Texas GOP : "...Local Control for Education " Wisconsin GOP: "We support reinstating state and local control of education..." CATO Institute: " ... favor investing authority in the level of government closest to the people (locales and states)," But, they also claim to want to limit "takers " and "freeloaders", so it can be hard to parse what they actually want when they continue to flip flop their core positions to benefit special interests (which they also claim to not like)


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 4:59 p.m.

clownfish- love the name; if the union is allowed to supercede contracts workers have no rights to opt out of the union. Now why would the union want to do that to the workers ?? (sarcasm)

Great Lakes Lady

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:58 p.m.

Clownfish: "...they continue to flip flop their core positions to benefit special interests (which they also claim to not like)." Reminder: The POTUS you elected in 2008 promised to limit the influence of lobbying in has increased exponentially since then. He also promised transparency. I didn't see it with Fast and Furious, Benghazi debaucle, Soyndra, etc....


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

So they are suggesting that representing me well is less important than ensuring that the union fat cats keep getting their dues. This is the type of thing that causes us to lose faith the the "union".


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 7:23 p.m.

kmgeb2000 I'm a union member and I can't name the fat cats, because they don't come around where I work. I read about them in union rag every once in a while, but they have never stopped by to see how were going. I don't think they even like us working stiffs.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:32 p.m.

Can you provide the names of your "union fat cats" verses empty rhetoric.

Unusual Suspect

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:29 p.m.

As with Ann Arbor City Council's similar time-wasting activities, I'm really not interested in "resolutions" that express an opinion. That's not what they're there for. Your job is to manage the county - not the union. Just do you job and stop being so full of yourself (another major problem with Ann Arbor City Council).


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:28 p.m.

What is the point of voting and passing state regulations and laws if cities are allowed to void them?


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:19 p.m.

I'm okay with this, if Mr. LaBarre is going to personally pay for any increased government spending as a result of the early negotiations.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:02 p.m.

If the county has sites which are attractive to conventions, organizations will continue to come here. Drop everything to complete union negotiations in a short time is not the way to arrive at a contract that is agreeable to both sides. The right to work will probably be defeated anyway so why doesn't Commissioner LeBarre focus on county concerns and leave the state concerns to those who were elected to address them


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:17 p.m.

Cownfish You statement would only be true if all county workers lived "only" on Washtenaw County.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

Unions that represent county workers, and union members who are citizens of the county are also county business.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:56 p.m.

Andy, exactly who are you reprensenting? You are supposed to be working for the citizens of Washtenaw county - you do not represent the unions If you union membership is so great they will keep their members. I suggest you get back to working for us the citizens who are paying you - of course maybe that is just small potatoes to what the unions are giving you


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:26 p.m.

It is quite clear that he is supporting the unions.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

"This resolution is my best effort to send that message in relation to the conventions and economic activity, and to put more than just words here," LaBarre said. The Best interest of the county is is save the Tax Payers Money, Mr. LaBarre!


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

If your logic were true then the best way would be too eliminate Governement altogether - Most money saved (your driving premise). History suggests this is false on so many levels. We exist as a society in no small part to having Government and Government Services. Which Government services would you prefer to be mediocre? The cheapest is rarely best or even palatable? Deeds, Records, Roads, IT, Public Health, Mental Health, Police, Fire? By the way, you cannot pick just one as many are interconnected and interrelated. Do you want a Goverment that provides the best services or only the cheapest? Mind that we have moved to the cheapest or least expensive mental health services and now Reap the Whirlwind.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:22 p.m.

The vote will make it clear which Commissioners work for the citizens and which Commissioners work for the unions.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 7:33 p.m.

@GoNavy - You know GoNavy, you are the best argument alive for the opposition (the people who believe in compulsory unionization). Here I was, thinking Snyder had actually possibly made a good, if difficult, choice here and along you come. You seem to think public workers are lower than pond scum and should be slavering at your feet just for the privilege of serving you. Honestly, you're not all that.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

@clownfish: We are not talking about private unions here, which by all means should fight for the best deal they can. We are talking about our public employees, for whom compensation must be derived from tax revenues. What's "best for them" is not necessarily "best for us," and by unionizing and forcing themselves into the equation, taxpayers cannot go elsewhere (as customers in the private sector can). In essence, we are held hostage.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

How dare union members fight for the best deal they can get! It is so Un-American to want better lives for yourselves and your children! They should take a cue from CEO's like those at Boeing, Xe Industries, or Halliburton, those people know how to keep the public interest at heart while working for the least they can afford to live on. If only the "right" had a fictional story that showed personal gain was as/more important than collective good.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 1:27 p.m.

@timjbd: They are citizens who are concerned with their own well-being, regardless of whether or not that well-being comes at the expense of other citizens. I hesitate to call that real citizenship, and it certainly isn't on par with, say, somebody who volunteers to fight overseas on your behalf.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:43 p.m.

Union members ARE citizens.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:21 p.m.

It is often hard to determine which level of government should form policy on any particular issue. That is the real question here, isn't it: CANthe county even do this? Then we may ask the question of whether or not it will. I am a supporter of the right to work law. I also realize that i live in a liberal county, and would be a fool not to expect these sorts of things. Basically, if the commission's is a legal policy, what did we think was going to happen?


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 2:25 p.m.

Great. The county is taking their direction from the union lawyer.

Amy Biolchini

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:58 p.m.

The legality question is a valid point to raise. Per my interview with Administrator Verna McDaniel, the unions' legal counsel advised that this was the course of action that should be taken to preserve the provisions under the security clause.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:20 p.m.

What? A resolution to by pass state policy! Why is the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners even thinking of opening union contracts before they are up? I plan to be at this meeting.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 5:05 p.m.

Why? To favor unions over the taxpayers, that's why!


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:19 p.m.

This is exactly why the law was passed and why public unions are viewed skeptically. It has often been said that FDR and George Meany both asserted that the public sector union is unfathomable. The reason being that there can't be arms-length negotiations between the unions and those whom they help elect to office using the power of the political action committees and campaign services. In effect, it becomes cronyism. Mr. LeBarre shows that he's all in on that kind of cronyism with his blatant desire to use a technical loophole to undo properly passed legislation. Yes, it may be unpopular legislation with many, but that doesn't mean it should be flouted. The law is being challenged in court, if it is unconstitutional it will be struck down. Further, those opposed to the law have the power to use petition and initiative to change the law (which already failed) or to elect representatives to change the law. The problem, of course, is that the overwhelming support in the State is in favor of right-to-work. These end-runs orchestrated by "employer" and employee's union are exactly the reasons why.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 12:17 p.m.

Maybe Andy is related to Jimmy Hoffa. He needs to be mindful of his true duties and stay away from issues such as these that greatly affect our finances.

Amy Biolchini

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 11:57 a.m.

The discussion on this item should be interesting to watch tonight. The Board of Commissioners has this item on their Ways and Means agenda. That meeting starts at 6:30 p.m., and is in the board room of the Washtenaw County Administration building at 220 N. Main St. in Ann Arbor. Public comment is the first item on the agenda after the clerk takes attendance. The right-to-work resolution is the last item on the agenda.

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 11:30 a.m.

Kudos to Commisioner Andy LaBarre for taking the lead on this. FINALLY a local Democrat standing up for the values of the Democratic Party. How refreshing! In sharp contrast to the silence from Ann Arbor City Council and several other 'progressive' politicians and campaign contributors, to numberous to mention, who seem 'comfortable' with Rick Snyder values.


Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

Dan Smith, the voice of reason. Thank you. RECALL Andy LaBarre!

Stephen Landes

Wed, Feb 6, 2013 : 3:25 p.m.

LaBarre is simply a lifetime government official in the making. As I recall from his election materials he has done absolutely NOTHING else in life except politics. He is starting small on the County Commission, but I'm sure he sees himself as a career politician with much higher office in mind. Doing the bidding of the union bosses is simply his way of getting lined up for the gravy train of campaign contributions.