Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Solidarity Protest with General Motors Hunger Strikers

The President of the Association of Injured and Ex-Workers of General Motors Colombia (ASOTRECOL), Jorge Parra, sewed his mouth shut on November 20th and is on hunger strike. Jorge, alongside local unions, community organizations, and religious leaders, demands that GM Detroit negotiate with ASOTRECOL. Jorge’s fellow workers continue their 15-month-long tent occupation outside the U.S. embassy in Bogotá, Colombia.
Jorge Parra from ASOTRECOL - November 20, 2012
Photo: Frank Hammer

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is considering awarding General Motors th
e “Award for Corporate Excellence,” citing GM’s “exemplary labor practices” and its overall “corporate social responsibility.” In 2006 the Bush administration granted the award to Colmotores, the GM plant located in Bogotá, Colombia--the same plant responsible for destroying the lives of the ASOTRECOL workers.

SHAME ON GM

  • GM Colombia (Colmotores), the most profitable GM plant in Latin America, fired over 200 workers who suffered work-related injuries and diseases, including spinal fractures and cancer.
  • GM bought off government inspectors, doctors, lawyers, and judges to hide evidence of poor working conditions and worker injuries. They falsified documents and destroyed patients’ medical histories.
  • GM refuses to recognize the workers’ occupational injuries and provide the fired workers with adequate medical compensation and pensions. Taking into account lost wages, pensions, and medical care, labor lawyers estimate a just settlement to be $24 million. In August 2012 Colmotores offered just $5,000 in total compensation to 12 workers. One spinal surgery alone costs over $50,000.

THE WORKERS’ DEMANDS:

  • GM Detroit must negotiate directly with ASOTRECOL.
  • Recognize workers’ injuries as occupational and provide adequate medical car.
  • Pay pensions for disabled workers and rehire those still able to work
  • Compensate workers for economic damage, including lost wages and homes
  •   Recognize ASOTRECOL as a GM union
  • U.S. enforcement of the Labor Action Plan, which outlines basic protections for workers within the US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement

MAKE A FINANCIAL DONATION

ASOTRECOL workers and their families lack adequate food, shelter, and medical care. Send a donation check to “Wellspring UCC” with “Colombia relief” on the memo line. Mailing address: Wellspring UCC, Box 508, Centreville VA 20122.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mayor Bing Fails to Show at Special City Council Session He Called

Monday November 26th City Council was called upon to meet with Mayor Dave Bing, at the Mayor's request. However at 12:03 pm the Mayor pulled air time with WXYZ tv to announce a close friend was sick and required a visit during the appointed time for the meeting, Mayor Bing sent Kirk Lews, Chief of Staff to act as Deputy Mayor before City Council regarding a requested re-vote on the Miller Canfield contract.

City Council found there were numerous improprieties in the manner of the Mayor calling this meeting.
  1. According to Mayor Bing's liaison to City Council Adam Hollier notice was posted in 3 locations around Coleman A Young Municipal Center after 5pm on November 21st. This provides insufficient notice during the holiday weekend with offices closed Thursday and Friday. In effect notice would be seen when arriving at work Monday. Open Meetings Act requires notice posted 18 hours in advance.
  2. Mayor Bing sent an appointee as Deputy Mayor Kirk Lewis to the meeting with all nine elected City Council officials present. As an elected official he should have been present personally as the person who called the meeting.
  3. The issues to be discussed were voted on November 20th and results are final.

Issues to have been Discussed

Miller Canfield Contract Supplanting Corporation Counsel

A Miller Canfield Paddock and Stone, P.L.C. contract to manage legal matters for the Reform Agenda of the Financial Stability Agreement was DENIED on November 20th. This was the first Miller Canfield contract presented to City Council after over nine months of council and the public demanding contract to be presented. 
FINANCE DEPARTMENT/PURCHASING DIVISION

Jones, reso. autho. Contract No. 2870456 – 100% City Funding – The engagement is to provide legal advice and litigation representation pertaining to implementing the City’s ongoing restructuring as contemplated in the Financial Stability Agreement among the City, the Michigan Department of Treasury, and the Review Team for the City of Detroit (“FSA). – Miller Canfield Paddock & Stone PLC, 150 West Jefferson, Suite 2500, Detroit, MI 48226 – Contract Period: August 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014 – Contract Amount Not to Exceed: $300,000.00.    (Hourly Rate has been changed from $350.00 per hour to $275.00 per hour)  (Contract period has been changed start date changed from January 1, 2012 to August 1, 2012, end date changed from December 31, 2015 to June 30, 2014.)    MAYOR’S OFFICE
This agenda item was discussed on November 14th at the Internal Operations Standing Committee. Program Management Director Kriss Andrews was present to answer questions regarding the contract.

The approval of the Miller Canfield contract was a key milestone on the Milestone Agreement, due by November 30th. City Council members have claimed the Mayor is using extortion to push through an agenda. Today's rush meeting would certainly be defined as coercion, even with the multiple failures that it met.

The city is facing a law firm considered a formidable opponent, that has 109 lawyers on the Super Lawyers list. Miller Canfield worked with Governor Rick Snyder to put tooth into the 2011 Emergency Manager Law, Public Act 4 - enabling it to alter corporate structure of municipalities and alter union contracts without negotiation. On March 21, 2011 Governor Snyder issued a Special Letter to Michigan Legislators with his plans on use of the newly passed Emergency Manager Law. Within these plans the dismantling of city and county services is explained as the path toward creating metropolitan governments which would assume those services. Bills in the Senate and House were introduced November 8, 2011 to establish the Metropolitan Area Metropolitan Authority (MAMA) Act.The problem with this approach is how effective a broad reach would be in addressing specific needs within local communities. Local communities can push local issues forward that may not be present across an entire metropolitan area - servicing those needs is a matter of regional oversight, not outright control of local government.

Emergency Managers have been being trained through Turnaround Management Association. Kriss Andrews is one of their Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP) graduates. Jack Martin found favor through his track record as indicated by Mlive when he was appointed Emergency Manager over Highland Park Public Schools.


Pension Obligations

One additional item on the schedule, total of two items for the meeting.
BUDGET DEPARTMENT
Cockrel, Jr. reso. autho. To amend the FY 2012-13 Budget to address costs in excess of budget for FY 2011-12 UAAL pension obligations.
I believe this came forward from a document Free Detroit unearthed from a June 2012 study done by Foster McCollum White & Associates titled "17 point draft plan to re-align Detroit's fiscal and operational structure". This document is well worth reading, and points from the document will be in our next post. It details the dismantling of departments, reallocation of funds and more in a quick 8 page guide. The document can also be downloaded from the Public Documents library at Free Detroit No Consent.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The People March on Detroit



DETROIT RALLY AND MARCH - Monday & Tuesday 

November 6th we watched the votes tally - We saw Michigan Democrats win the Senate. We saw the re-election of President Barack Obama and saw Proposal 1 come in with a NO vote. The next morning we found …
  • The Emergency Manager Law had been repealed
    (but nothing changed)
  • Detroit’s Proposal C to ensure Corporation Counsel retained independence and the ability to prosecute Mayor Bing
    (and the Mayor continues supporting the Financial Stability Agreement born through Public Act 4, which was claimed to not conform with the requirements of Detroit City Charter)
and what we didn’t get was a CELEBRATION in the streets and JUSTICE NOW. We were the ones and we thought certainly someone would start the celebration. We realize now that WE ARE THE ONES to start the celebration!! WE MUST DEMAND JUSTICE NOW!

Detroit Rally and March starts this weekend

WE ARE *MARCHING ON* CITY HALL MONDAY & TUESDAY MORNING AT 9AM
WE ARE *CALLING ON YOU* TO STAND UP FOR YOUR RIGHTS AND PARTICIPATE – sitting through a revolution was never the way of accomplishing what is needed.
  • We are NOT WAITING 30 days to claim victory.
  • We are NOT WAITING for Detroit to have more services farmed out to private business by terms of a contract. 
  • We are NOT WAITING for land grabs to be complete and departments to be shut-down sending our residents into unemployment.
  • We are NOT WAITING for our public buses to be privatized, or our water, or our lighting, or other departments.
  • We are NOT WAITING for more of our schools to be yanked from our hands and have our children attending EAA schools established and controlled through Jim Crow Laws.
  • We are NOT WAITING for the State of Michigan to push through new Emergency Manager Laws to “save us” from bankruptcy court.
  • We are NOT WAITING for our elected officials to take orders from the State of Michigan on next steps in dismantling our local governments and schools.
WE ARE THE PEOPLE OF DETROIT and
WE ARE NOT WAITING ANY MORE!
EXERCISE OUR RIGHT TO ASSEMBLE, TO PLAN, TO PARTICIPATE IN GOVERNMENT, TO BE AWARE
EXERCISE SELF-GOVERNANCE THROUGH OUR HOME-RULE CHARTER
EXERCISE WITH OUR FEET IN THE STREET
EXERCISE OUR VOICES HELD HIGH IN REASON AND PROTEST
EXERCISE THE FREEDOM OUR COUNTRY HAS FOUGHT FOR CENTURIES TO MAINTAIN – not overseas, here at home! Our fight for freedom is here at home! We will not be slaves to a state of confusion and despair. Our children deserve to know the hope and spirit of a brighter future. We are not sacrificing to the burdens of devastation placed on us by a CORPO-GOVERNMENT declared state of emergency.

Government SERVES the People – it is their oath of office, it is time to serve as the public demanded through a general election and insist the courts and law-makers of this land follow the will of the people. WE WILL NOT BE UNDONE BY A SYSTEM NOT OF OUR OWN CHOOSING!

Assist us by inviting those that love Detroit to march, to be THE ONES that proclaim the City of Detroit is a held by THE PEOPLE and we will not back-down.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

What To Do After The Emergency Managers Are Removed

Submitted by Stephen Boyle

I believe now is the time we turn attention to the Bankruptcy courts and demand the banks take an appropriate risk to what they provided to the investments held in trust. A number of banks could go under when faced with the burden of supporting the risk they created through unfair lending practices.

LET THE BANKS BURN 
LET THE BANKS GO BANKRUPT 
Local government needs to create and support
value in our communities
rather than a privately held demigod currency.   

There are critical services to the people of cities that will be facing Chapter 9 Municipal Bankruptcy and these cannot be shipped off/privatized. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THESE SERVICES IS NOT SECONDARY TO DEBT TO IRRESPONSIBLE BANKS. The atrocity of decimating the livelihood of people is far greater than decimating the dollar (a manipulated value at best, and credit standing is likewise a manipulated value).

PEOPLE FIRST

The banks must be in second position to critical services. Negotiation of the amount of debt AND credit standing must be established through the courts. We need courts to act responsibly with the lives they are entrusted. Corporations do not cry, they do not bleed, and they don't experience pain the way people do.

Courts were established to carry out the justice people defined for them to use in governance. Some courts understand the public they serve and others are confused by responsibility to the public's best interest.

There will be resistance and the foundation of the country needs to be upheld. Taxation without representation will lead to civil unrest - which plays into the nationwide plans for a police-state. We are a nation that not only endures unrest - the policies of our leadership has created unrest throughout the world and our creations are coming home to roost.  Corporations have put themselves in a higher position and stuck their hands up the back of political puppets. When the hand of the puppeteer gets severed off the puppet is going to go limp and fall over. Those leaders that resist corporate takeover will remain standing and be supported by the people whom they support.

I could go on and on about the injustices of Emergency Managers and EFMs in the State of Michigan, but what is needed now is a plan forward and correcting the system that has become weakened through sustained sickness. The State is going to attempt to continue the sickness requested by those interests controlling our government. Those same interests that would rather put the country at war physically than face being the source of an internal WAR ON THE POOR.

Stop the enslavement of people to a system that is failing.