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MichMan

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Member since: Mon Apr 20, 2015, 06:44 PM
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Conyers III to run for Congress as independent

Source: Detroit News

Detroit -- John Conyers III is circulating petitions to appear on the November ballot as an independent candidate after being tossed from the Democratic primary in the race for his father's congressional seat.

The maneuver, Conyers III said, is smarter than waging a long-shot campaign as a write-in candidate and he won't be beholden to the Democratic leadership.

"This is a far better position. I can focus on campaigning from now until November," said Conyers, who began circulating petitions after finding out he wouldn't be part of the primary. "Other Democrats in the (primary) race can fight it out for one position."

The crowded 13th District Democratic primary to replace resigned Congressman John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, for a full two-year term includes Conyers' great nephew, Ian Conyers, as well as former state Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Shanelle Jackson, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, state Sen. Coleman Young III and Westland Mayor Bill Wild.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2018/07/02/john-conyers-iii-congress-independent/751205002/

Feds label Fiat Chrysler, UAW as co-conspirators

Source: Detroit News

Detroit — Federal prosecutors labeled the United Auto Workers and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV as co-conspirators in a widening corruption scandal, an allegation at odds with claims the labor union and automaker were victimized by rogue employees.The allegation, contained in a federal court plea agreement obtained by The Detroit News on Tuesday, potentially exposes the automaker and the UAW — a cornerstone of the modern American automotive industry — to criminal charges, fines and governmental oversight, according to a former federal prosecutor.

"This does not bode well for Fiat Chrysler and the UAW," said Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor. "All along, the union and Fiat Chrysler have portrayed themselves as victims, but this indicates the government has a different view."
Federal prosecutors say the union and Fiat Chrysler conspired from before 2009 through 2015 to violate the Labor Management Relations Act and the automaker enabled nepotism to flourish at a blue-collar training center. The law prohibits employers or those working for them from paying, lending or delivering money or other valuables to officers or employees of labor organizations — and from labor leaders from accepting such items.

"From in or before 2009 through 2015, FCA executives conspired with one another, with FCA, with officials at the UAW, and with the UAW, to violate the Labor Management Relations Act," prosecutors wrote in the court filing. It's the first time FCA and the union have been identified separately from individuals in the case. The government has not brought charges against either the company or the union.

<snip>

A fight for money central to the criminal case involving the UAW and Fiat Chrysler has intensified in recent days. The UAW-Chrysler National Training Center sued Iacobelli and others Friday to recoup $4.4 million it claims was embezzled during the scheme.
During the time of the conspiracy described by prosecutors, Fiat Chrysler executives authorized Holiefield and other UAW officials to offer sham employment at the training center to friends, relatives and allies, according to the court filing.

At the direction of Holiefield and other UAW officials, "numerous individuals were categorized as being on 'special assignment' status to the (training center) when, in fact, those individuals did little work or no work on behalf of the (training center)," prosecutors wrote.

Read more: https://www.detroitnews.com/story/business/autos/2018/06/12/feds-label-fiat-chrysler-uaw-co-conspirators/695076002/

Clerk vote: 1 in 5 Detroit precincts cant be recounted

Detroit — City Clerk Janice Winfrey has prevailed in a general election recount that uncovered poll worker errors that prevented about 20 percent of reviewed precincts from being recounted.

The Wayne County Board of Canvassers on Friday certified the results at Cobo Center, declaring Winfrey as the official winner of the race. But with the conclusion came more questions about election operations in Detroit amid the review of votes that turned up missing ballots and mismatched tabulations.

Winfrey’s challenger Garlin Gilchrist II sought the recount after losing to Winfrey by 1,482 votes on Nov. 7, saying his request was prompted by stories of “chaos and confusion” from absentee voters during election season. He requested a recount of 100 absentee voter counting boards, as well as 60 precincts where problems were reported on Election Day. That represents more than 27 percent of the city’s total number of precincts.

Some of the recount findings had the city’s elections director on Friday threatening “disciplinary action” against the poll workers who were overseeing one precinct. At the city’s precinct 156, which is St. John’s Presbyterian Church, only five of the 145 ballots cast on Election Day were in the recount container. Department of Elections Director Daniel Baxter said during the board meeting Friday that poll workers at the church on E. Lafayette failed to place the ballots in the transfer case. “They placed them, unfortunately, in the supply box,” he said.

When asked by a board member what the remedy would be, Baxter vowed his office will take action.
“That entire board will probably be discharged and will not be able to work in future elections,” Baxter said. “We will regroup and look at some of the issues that occurred at this particular election and reinforce training for our poll worker staff.”

Wayne County Elections Director Delphine Oden has said that in some precincts, the number of ballots tabulated on Election Day did not match the number of ballots in the recount container. Friday’s recount results didn’t include the votes from 16 absentee voter counting boards and 17 Election Day precincts because they could not be recounted. Gilchrist called it “unacceptable” and “problematic” that 140 ballots were missing from precinct 156. “There continues to be issues and reasons why people in Detroit do no trust the voting process,” he said.

Winfrey could not be reached for comment on Friday, but previously has touted beefed up poll worker training and new voting machines after a state audit of the November 2016 election revealed an “abundance of human errors” that caused mismatched vote totals.Winfrey told The Detroit News on Thursday that there will always be a small amount of non-recountable precincts “because of human error” but said “the great majority are recountable.”

Gilchrist said after the meeting that there are towns in Michigan where every absentee voting board and every Election Day precinct are recountable.

“I believe Detroiters are capable of the same thing,” Gilchrist said. “We need to have systems in place to make sure everyone is part of the process (and) the staff can function correctly so that we can have recountable precincts. It’s clear that the training has not improved enough.”

Earlier this year, the Michigan Bureau of Elections audited 136 of the city’s most irregular precincts from the November 2016 election — “the worst of the worst,” it said — after a Wayne County canvass revealed “significant discrepancies” in the number of voters and ballots in 392 Detroit precincts.

[link:http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2017/12/08/detroit-clerk-recount/108439064/|

Another John Conyers accuser comes forward, saying he groped her in church

Source: Detroit Free Press


WASHINGTON -- Another former staff employee of U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Detroit, came forward late Monday to publicly accuse the congressman of sexual harassment, saying he once slid his hand up her skirt in church.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who is representing Marion Brown, the former staffer who first accused Conyers, 88, of sexual harassment, on Monday night made public on Twitter an affidavit from Elisa Grubbs making many of the same accusations.

Conyers, who is being called on by many of his Democratic colleagues to resign, is expected to have an announcement about his future at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday in Detroit.

In Grubbs' signed statement, she says she worked in various roles for Conyers for some 12 years, from 2001-13, though her name didn't immediately come up in a search for Conyers' staffers during that time period in the Legistorm.com service or in the U.S. House quarterly Statement of Disbursements. Some past news accounts have listed her as an employee of Conyers however.

It was also not immediately known whether Grubbs could possibly be one of the people who earlier wrote confidential affidavits on behalf of Brown's complaint which were earlier published by the website BuzzFeed. This is the first time her name has been publicly mentioned in connection with the sexual harassment accusations, however.
She said in the affidavit she saw Conyers groping and stroking Brown's legs and the legs of other women in the office and that she saw Brown shortly after an alleged event in Chicago in 2005 where Brown said Conyers' propositioned her in a hotel room. In the affidavit, Grubbs said Brown told her, "That SOB just wanted me to have sex with him."



Read more: https://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/12/04/john-conyers-accuser-church/922045001/

Fuyao employees reject UAW bid by a wide margin

Employees at Fuyao Glass America voted by a resounding margin Thursday against joining the United Auto Workers, defeating the union’s more than 18-month attempt to organize one of the Dayton area’s fastest growing manufacturers, in a fight that drew the international spotlight.

The final tally was 886 to 441, according to the National Labor Relations Board, which oversaw the election. 
The UAW offered a slightly different tally, but the same outcome: 868 votes against forming a UAW-represented collective bargaining unit, and 444 votes for the union.

There were 1,608 eligible voters at Fuyao, according to Matthew Denholm, assistant regional director for the NLRB in Cincinnati. Three ballots were void and 186 were challenged. “The union did not receive a majority,” Denholm said. 

The NLRB election process gives the UAW a week to challenge the outcome of the election. 

In a statement, the union said workers “reported irregularities during the election which the UAW is investigating, and it may file objections” with the NLRB.

Fuyao is Ohio’s largest Chinese-owned manufacturing operation, anchored in the shell of a former General Motors plant, and the company itself is just over three years old. The Moraine plant makes automotive and safety glass, with the capacity to make glass sets for one of every four vehicles on North American roads.


[link:http://www.daytondailynews.com/business/fuyao-voting-scheduled-end-soon/heywvRQaCN4kQr7E6bvVDK/|

Feds: Fiat Chrysler VP bribed UAW execs 'to take company friendly positions'

Source: Detroit Free Press


Feds: Fiat Chrysler VP bribed UAW execs 'to take company friendly positions'

It started out as a scandal about personal greed. Fiat Chrysler and UAW executives, authorities said, were scheming together to line their own pockets.But the scheme, they now claim, had another goal: Helping the company instead of autoworkers, and bribing union officials to get that done.

In an explosive document filed Friday in the growing Fiat Chrysler-UAW scandal, the government said former Fiat Chrysler Vice President Alphons Iacobelli was bribing union officials to persuade them "to take company-friendly positions."This new allegation raises the question of whether or not the union's contract and other decisions were influenced by the wrongdoing, potentially undermining the credibility of the contract. The phrase "company friendly positions," also could relate to how the UAW handled employee grievances, plant specific issues, holiday work and overtime work schedules, training, plant organizational changes and other plant programs.The government, however, doesn't have to prove that contracts or policies were influenced to convict those charged. It only has to show that auto executives were bribing union officials -- a crime that prosecutors claim Iacobelli pulled off through various financial schemes. One of them, they said, involved giving union officials credit cards to go on shopping sprees whenever they felt like it.

The credit cards, they said,  were issued through the UAW-FCA training center, and paid for everything from designer clothes and $1,000 shoes to a Ferrari and swimming pool."Iacobelli said,  'if you see something you want, feel free to buy it. I don't have a problem if you buy it on the charge card,' " prosecutors wrote in a court filing today, adding this was part of a bigger plan to keep senior union officials  "fat, dumb and happy." The details about Iacobelli's alleged motives surfaced in a new charging document that named a fourth targeted defendant in the case. Both the UAW and FCA have previously said that the alleged FCA-UAW scam did not affect the contracts. "It is important for you to know that despite some public commentary to the contrary, the allegations in the indictment in no way call into question the collective bargaining contracts negotiated by our union during this period," UAW President Dennis Williams said last month after the first charges became public. Said Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne in a letter to employees last month: "This conduct had nothing whatsoever to do with the collective bargaining process."


Nevertheless, those involved were in positions to influence both contract negotiations and other decisions. Retired UAW Associate Director Virdell King, the first African-American female to be elected president of a local union in UAW-Chrysler's history, was charged Friday in U.S. District Court today with being part of a conspiracy that involved the theft of more than $4.5 million in autoworker training funds. King, 65, of Detroit, was a UAW employee who served as a senior offical in the UAW Chrysler Department from 2008 until she retired in 2016.














Read more: http://www.freep.com/story/money/cars/chrysler/2017/08/19/feds-fiat-chrysler-and-uaw-execs-werevp-told-uaw-execs-if-you-see-something-you-want-feel-free-buy-i/581715001/

Are goats taking jobs from union workers?


A battle is brewing at Western Michigan University this summer between a group of hungry goats and a labor union.
The 400-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has filed a grievance contending that the work the goats are doing in a wooded lot is taking away jobs from laid-off union workers.

"AFSCME takes protecting the jobs of its members very seriously and we have an agreed-upon collective bargaining agreement with Western Michigan," said Union President Dennis Moore. "We expect the contract to be followed, and in circumstances where we feel it's needed, we file a grievance."

The grievance alleges that the university did not notify the union that it was planning to use goat crews on campus, according to a chief steward report supplied to the Battle Creek Enquirer.

University spokeswoman Cheryl Roland said a small goat crew has been on campus this summer, but not to cut grass.
"For the second summer in a row, we've brought in a goat crew to clear undergrowth in a woodlot, much of it poison ivy and other vegetation that is a problem for humans to remove," Roland said. "Not wanting to use chemicals, either, we chose the goat solution to stay environmentally friendly.


http://www.freep.com/story/news/2017/07/06/goats-taking-jobs-union-workers/455237001/

Serious question about immigration & the economy

With the recent Immigrant's Day to bring attention all to the positive aspects that immigrants provide to our economy, I have a sincere question. Obviously, anyone with intelligence would agree that our economy is strengthened with the presence of all immigrants regardless of legal status. I assume that the vast majority of people that emigrate to the US to work are some of the hardest working and most industrious.

Wouldn't that also mean that the economies of their countries of origin are therefore weakened by them leaving?

Supervisor says some Detroit poll workers not capable of doing the job


http://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/rochelle-riley/2016/12/16/riley-supervisor-poll-workers-not-capable-job/95495230/

Rochelle Riley , Detroit Free Press Columnist

Janice Winfrey should have called a news conference last January and said Detroit could not run its 2016 elections effectively without people stepping up to replace aging, incapable poll workers. Had she done that, the Detroit city clerk, who was widely praised for transforming the department when she ousted former Clerk Jackie Currie in 2005, would not be facing a firestorm of criticism over mishandled voter ballots and malfunctioning machines. She also wouldn’t have had some precincts where capable veterans worked alongside some people who could not read, weren’t properly trained, weren’t mobile and didn’t know how to use new electronic polling books that long ago replaced paper sheets, one veteran polling supervisor who has worked the polls for 30 years asserted Thursday.

“The one thing I noticed — and this is where the problem is cropping up — is that a lot of folks have mobility issues and other issues,” said Christopher Flournoy, 52, a residential home improvement salesperson who lives in Russell Woods. Flournoy has been working the polls since he was in his 20s, and said things are not as they should be. “I have personally been shocked when I go to training,” he said. “They do provide training and you’ll see people come in on walkers and with crutches, and the one thought I had is how on earth are they going to carry on their responsibilities as an elections inspector?

“The biggest problem is training — and I don’t like to say disparaging things — but the trainers are not trained to provide instruction. They’re winging it. They don’t have people who have been trained to provide training to adults. It becomes a gripe session about the previous election. You get handed some materials and nobody says good luck, but that’s implied. You’ll figure out as you go along."
The average age of poll workers nationwide is 68.

Detroit workers are older,  Winfrey said earlier this week. And the work is grueling —  15-18 hours with only two one-hour meal times and two other 15-minute breaks. “We’re getting older folks doing it because they’ve always done it like me, and we’re getting another group doing it because it’s an easy way to make a $150,” Flournoy said. “I’ve had workers in precincts I supervise who couldn’t read. They absolutely could not read and couldn’t operate the computer,” he said, adding that Winfrey should return to giving the aptitude test she created when she was first elected. “That’s where it goes back to — training. Training is supposed to be mandatory, but I’ve had people to show up and say ‘No, I didn’t do training, but they gave me a credential.' ”

Records: 95 Detroit poll books missing for several days



http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/politics/2016/12/15/records-detroit-poll-books-missing-several-days/95476742/

The Detroit News

Detroit elections officials waited several days to deliver nearly 100 poll books to Wayne County officials charged with certifying the presidential election, newly released documents show. County clerk officials on Thursday released a memo to State Elections Director Chris Thomas that said 95 poll books from the 662 precincts weren’t available at the start of the canvass, which began the day after the Nov. 8 election. Five of those poll books, which contain the names of voters and ensure the integrity of elections, were never delivered to county canvassers and presumably remain missing.

The revelation comes atop other irregularities that have prompted a state audit. Among other issues, The Detroit News reported this week that voting machines registered more votes than they should have in one-third of all city precincts. “I’m not happy with how Detroit handled this election at all,” said Krista Hartounian, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which certified the election.“We had been seeing improvement, but this one was different. This one was off.”

Canvassers compare poll books with printouts from voting machines to ensure the number of people who signed in to vote match the number of ballots cast.

In heavily Democratic Detroit, the numbers didn’t match in 392 of 662 precincts or 59 percent. The discrepancies emerged during a statewide presidential recount that began last week and ended Friday following a decision by the Michigan Supreme Court.Democrat Hillary Clinton overwhelmingly prevailed in Detroit and Wayne County, but Republican President-elect Donald Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes.
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