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OE324 Endorses Gretchen Whitmer

“We know what they’re doing is anti-worker, anti-family…and the way they are doing it is anti-American! This is about people. This isn’t about some ‘scary union,’ but what happens when the people get together and decide we’re gonna fight for fair wages and decent benefits. We form a union. That’s made of people, and that’s who’s gonna hold them accountable!”

On December 11, 2012, as the Michigan Legislature met behind locked doors to pass the anti-union “Right To Work” bill in lame duck session, State Senator Gretchen Whitmer led the protest in front of the Capitol for thousands of Michigan union supporters. She loaned out her office as a headquarters for the protests. She stood shoulder to shoulder with labor. And she promised that she would hold those who passed and supported the legislation accountable.

In running for Michigan Governor in 2018, she is fulfilling that promise. Operating Engineers 324 endorse Gretchen Whitmer for Governor of Michigan in 2018 for that, and many other reasons.
Fighting against “Right To Work” was not the first time Senator Whitmer stood by labor, and it was most certainly not her last. Whitmer’s platform is built on helping labor return to its rightful place in this state, protecting working families and supporting skilled tradespeople.

Gretchen Whitmer has been on the front lines fighting for Michigan’s working families because she believes all working people should have the freedom to negotiate together for good jobs, fair wages, a secure retirement, and more time to spend with family. As governor, Whitmer has a plan to get things done for working families by repealing right to work, reinstating prevailing wage, and restoring six weeks of unemployment benefits. Right now, working families and seniors are paying higher taxes under Governor Snyder. Whitmer will repeal the Retirement Tax so Michigan seniors can keep more of what they earned.

Gretchen Witmer has real plans to make sure every Michigander has a path to a high wage job, whether college is right for them or not. She’ll improve our public education system so every child has the wraparound support they need to thrive. Her platform includes plans to make the first two years of college debt-free and fund more trade schools and skills training programs. We know first-hand that better prepared students become successful Operating Engineers. Whitmer’s plan would help make that a reality for many more students, helping to grow the next generation of skilled trades people.

Whitmer proposes a real, $3 billion investment in a rebuild Michigan infrastructure bank so we can “fix the damn roads” and fix them the right way, the first time, with high-quality materials, mix, and the best professionals like those in Operating Engineers 324 so we get the job done right. She has a plan to expedite the replacement of lead pipes so every community has clean, safe drinking water and lay conduit so every Michigander has access to high-speed internet.

Gretchen Whitmer is not a cookie-cutter politician either. She is an independent political voice and is willing to work with Republicans when it benefits working people. She worked with Republicans on expanding Medicaid through Healthy Michigan. She also negotiated a higher minimum wage and cost-of-living adjustments for Michigan’s most vulnerable working people. Just as Operating Engineers 324 believes in a “Policy Over Party” approach to politics, Whitmer has shown she has the ability to work across the aisle to get things done.

For too long, we have been on the losing side of too many important battles. We’ve seen infrastructure spending promised, and then never materialize. We’ve seen unemployment benefits cut, and thousands of Michigan workers – many of them our own union brothers and sisters – robbed by a fraud system that cost the state tens of millions of dollars and flagged the wrong people. We’ve seen Project Labor Agreements banned, and anti-union Emergency Financial Managers placed into office without consent of the people. We’ve seen a city’s children poisoned with water.

And this year, we filled the House chamber and watched as a majority of Republicans in the state legislature threw working people to the curb and repealed Michigan’s Prevailing
Wage law.

It’s time to turn things around, to keep the economy growing, but also make sure that it’s growing for the many, not just the few. Bill Schuette has been bred as the ultimate anti-union governor, from his DeVos/Dow Chemical/Mackinac Center backing to his embrace of the Associated Builders and Contractors. With him as Governor, things promise to only get tougher for us – as workers, as residents, and as a union.

Operating Engineers 324 believes that Gretchen Whitmer is the answer for Michigan and our hard-working members. We endorse Gretchen Whitmer for Governor, and we ask that you give her your consideration.

“I’m so proud to have the endorsement of OE324 because hardworking Michiganders deserve a governor who can get things done for the people of our state,” said Whitmer. “For too long, Republicans like Bill Schuette have rigged the rules of the economy against Michigan families. I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work fixing problems that will actually make a difference in people’s lives right now. Together, we’re going to fix the damn roads, improve education and skills training, expand access to affordable health care, and repeal the retirement tax.”