Accelerated path to Emergency Manager in schools – HB 4239

HB 4329 would allow the Treasurer to declare a financial emergency and recommend that the Governor appoint an emergency manager within a school district if the Treasurer determines that the district has failed to submit or comply with an Enhanced Deficit Elimination Plan.

Passed 59-50 on March 23, 2015

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

Repeal Prevailing Wage—SB 003

This bill intends to eliminate prevailing wage. Prevailing Wage is a bi-partisan historic American practice establishing minimum labor standards on public projects that dates back over 100 years. Under prevailing wage, both union and non-union workers are able to securely provide for their families.

Passed 22-15 (1 excused) on May 14, 2015

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

Ban Local Wage Ordinances – HB 4052

HB 4052 would prohibit local governments from enacting ordinances requiring local employers to provide paid leave time, pay prevailing wages or a living wage or other similar provisions.

Passed House 59-51 on June 16, 2015

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

Costly outsourcing of local road maintenance – HB 4611/11

These two bills would require competitive bidding for local road maintenance projects without safeguards against contractor abuses.

Passed 62-44 on October 21, 2015

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

UI business tax cut – SB 500

SB 500 would give businesses an automatic tax cut on their UI taxes when the UI Trust Fund has a balance of more than $2.5 billion.  Labor argued that if the trust fund has money to spare, it should go to unemployed workers and their families, who haven’t received an increase in the maximum UI benefit in 13 years.

Passed the House 60-46 on December 11, 2015

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

Campaign Finance – SB 571—Prohibits employer check off of employee PAC funds

SB 571 makes it easier for corporations and their trade associations to collect PAC contributions through payroll deduction, while prohibiting payroll deduction for union PAC contributions, violating the First Amendment rights of union members by selectively suppressing political speech and association.

Passed House (60-40) on December 16, 2015

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

NLRB Pre-Emption — SB 492

SB 492 was part of a package of bills attempting an unconstitutional end run around the authority of the National Labor Relations Act.  The bills attempted to reverse the Browning-Ferris ruling by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dealing with the duty to collectively bargain with joint employers.

Passed House 59-46 on December 16, 2015

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

Electrical Administrative Act- HB-4813 – Increases apprenticeship training ratios

Amends the training apprenticeship ratio from one to one to an increase of one to three, thereby changing the law from one electrical journeyman or master electrician to one registered apprentice to three registered apprentices.

Passed the House 60-48 on March 24, 2016

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

School Employee Contracts — HB 5384

Creates a new school district in Detroit, but specifically states that collective bargaining contracts and union recognition from the old district do not transfer and provides that the new district is not the successor employer for the old district’s employees. The bill also states that non-certified personnel can be employed to serve as teachers in Detroit schools.

Passed 57-51 on May 5, 2016

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families

Gutting Hearing Process for striking workers — HB 5387

Undermines the hearing process for school employees accused of illegally striking, including drastic shortening of hearing process, allowing for consolidating up to thousands of cases in one hearing and allow individual parents to file charges against worker, instead of the school district.

Passed 59-49 on May 5, 2016

A NO vote was the correct vote to support working families





Membership Update – June 2016

Contract Negotiations: There are no top table talks currently scheduled for the month of June. We held Local Issue talks on May 25th in Ishpeming with limited progress. A major unresolved item for the Union is the Tilden Pellet Plant airborne dust due to inadequate dust collection plus major design/operational issues with the ventilation system looming as a huge safety issue for those that must work in this despicable environment daily.

Updated WARN notice: We were informed Thursday June 9th that an updated WARN notice was being issued for the hourly employees and a new WARN notice was coming out for the salaried employees. As of the writing of this update we have not seen these notices.

USW Marquette Iron Range Retirees Dinner: The two Local Unions are again sponsoring the annual retiree’s dinner this Saturday evening. We need a couple more people to help serve dinner for our retirees. If you can help out please contact Tony or Tricia or just show up. You would be needed from about 5:30pm to 7:30pm Saturday June 11th at the Negaunee Ice Arena. Free dinner and beverages if you volunteer.

USW Marquette Iron Range Union Picnic: This event will be held on Saturday June 18th, Noon to 5pm at the Al Quaal Rec Area. Please try to make it for the fun, food, music and more. There is a full notice on the Union bulletin board. Volunteers are needed to help out on the day of the picnic. If you and/or a family member would like to help out please contact Michael Grondz at 235-0313.

Improper Displacement or Recall: If you feel you were harmed by a displaced or recall within the workforce. You need to fill out the proper form in a timely manner. This provision has a very short look-back for a monetary remedy if you lost earnings. These forms are included in all lay-off packets and available in the Union office or from HR.

Economic Development Committee Meetings (EDC): If you get laid-off, you really should attend one of these EDC meetings at Ronn Hall. There is lots of great information provided and it may save you from making a mistake on your unemployment and/or SUB pay. Currently there is a meeting scheduled to start at noon on Monday June 13th at Ronn Hall. More meetings will be scheduled as necessary with the upcoming lay-offs.

Cliffs Pellet Order with ArcelorMittal: The recently announced ArcelorMittal pellet order has increased 2016 Empire pellet production by 400,000 tons. Empire has produced the 2016 budgeted 2.3 million ton faster than anticipated. This 400,000 ton increase in 2016 production is expected to be completed before or very near the original mid-August shutdown timeframe. A pellet order to produce extra tonnage is always good, although it did very little with regard to extending the Empire Mine shutdown time frame.

Empire Shutdown: What we know of the indefinite idling of the Empire Mine:

  • All operation permitting requirements will be maintained in the event of a restart.

  • 51 PCB transformers and all nuclear source equipment will be removed.

  • The Empire truck shop utilities will be totally independent of the plant.

  • The Empire plant will have ALL utilities shut off.

  • The entire perimeter will be fenced, gated, locked or have berms erected.

  • Entering this area will be considered trespassing.

  • Cliffs is in negotiations with ArcelorMittal to keep some Empire equipment for use at the Tilden Mine.

Contractor Work: We have had people ask why the contractor parking lots have cars in them while we have members on lay-off. We have always fought to keep our work for our membership. We have some very good contracting-out language in our agreement. There has always and continues to be work that the company has a contractual right to have outside contractors perform. Contracting out work is an ongoing challenge and we will not sit back and allow OUR work to be contracted out. If you feel contractors are doing USW bargaining unit work, please let one of us know.

Forced Overtime: Currently there are five plant repairpersons and two electricians on lay-off while the maintenance ABC crew is forced twelve-hour shifts this week and the electricians will be forced ten-hour shifts next week. There are quite a few other maintenance and electrical employees displaced to laborer positions. Operating also has employees laid-off while they are forced-overtime to fill shifts. We are always against forcing of overtime while we have members on the street and we will continue to fight to keep additional members working rather than using overtime as a daily tool.

The company position of treating our working members like a forced-overtime mule while fully qualified employees sit home is appalling. We have received a lack-of-care attitude from some managers for the many justifiable reasons our members have brought forward requesting this forcing of overtime be greatly reduced or stopped.

While our members are regularly scheduled a 60-hour plus week or a 12-hour days at a moment’s notice, we recently had managers walking out of a discharge hearing at 2:45pm in the afternoon claiming the hearing MUST be delayed because they have “family obligations” to attend to. There are two classes of employees in the Michigan Mines.

Documentation of craziness: In a recent post, we requested help with eliminating waist, inefficiencies and just plain craziness. Please get details of time, place, department, part numbers, work order numbers, people involved, shift, equipment, etc. We need to have proper documentation of any and all claims or we can’t expect any change. Rants, and undocumented accusations will not accomplish anything. Please email properly documented justifiable issues to local4974@aol.com and we will do our best to get the issues addressed. There is also the “REPORT” link in the top menu of our local4974.org website.

July 4th Parade in Ishpeming and the July 9th Pioneer Days Parade in Negaunee: Please bring your kids, spouse or friends to march in the parade. Free t-shirts to those that march. There will be notices on the Union bulletin board of start times and locations.

Bulldog Investigations: This firm has been utilized by Cliffs to spy on our USW members on many occasions. One of the investigators from Bulldog was recently found on private property of a USW member in camouflage clothing and carrying a camera. The police were called. Please see our web site in the very near future for more information on this company and its local investigators.

Monthly Union Meeting

The next regular monthly meeting will be held as listed below. We welcome and encourage those members laid-off to continue to attend.

Ronn Hall – Negaunee MI.

Local 4974 – Monday June 13th at 4 pm

Notices, Updates, Agreements and More are also posted at