MIRS: Here’s One Social Justice Group’s Legislative Wish List

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The Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan unveiled their progressive social platform today on the Capitol steps, aiming at providing assistance to the impoverished working class.

The coalition of non-profits is pushing for universal earned paid sick time, curbing wage theft, wage parity for tipped workers, removing employment barriers for ex-convicts, regulating corporate subsidies and making childcare more affordable, among other issues. 

They released a policy manual that detailed the policy changes they envisioned would create more economic equity in Michigan. 

“We have the right to opportunities that allow us to thrive,” said Dessa COSMA, the alliance’s executive director. “We know the best changes needed for our liberations and success. We have the wisdom needed to fix the problems facing us, and some of those ideas are laid out in this policy manual.” 

The document is specific and ambitious in the changes it calls for on numerous issues, providing data and legislative recommendations. 

But given a place of prominence at the front of the manual is a condemnation of the 2015 law, which prevent local governments from implementing the changes they’re calling for (See “Snyder Signs Off On Preempting New Local Wage, Sick-Leave Requirements,” 6/30/15). 

The report says the law delivered “a devastating blow to working families and a victory to corporate special interests.” It calls for a reversion back to local control on those issues. 

Randy BLOCK, of the Michigan Unitarian Universalists Social Justice Network, called for the acceptance of water as a human right, and also admonished the Legislature for not taking action on the findings of the Sen. Jim STAMAS-chaired panel (See “Flint Task Force Suggests Replacing EMs With 3-Person Panels,” 10/19/16). 

“There are solutions to our water problems,” Block said. “All we need is the courage of legislators to be able to stand up for their constituents so that we can all have clean, affordable water.” 

The press conference had paltry attendance, but former Rep. Rashida TLAIB was there to represent the Sugar Law Center and called out the Legislature for providing “corporate welfare” while not addressing social issues. 

Cosma acknowledged that the changes the manual calls for will likely not have much traction with the Legislature’s current composition. 

“I think we’re doing the practical first step here today,” Cosma said. “We’re having conversations. We’re sharing personal stories with them about how we’re personally affected by these things. We’re talking to them about how their constituents are particularly affected and we’re hoping to move (their positions).”
Sunil Joy
Assistant Director of Policy and Research
The Education Trust-Midwest
306 South Washington Ave, Suite 400
Royal Oak, Michigan 48067
http://www.edtrustmidwest.org