Daily Archives: March 29, 2011

NYT: Michigan Cuts Jobless Benefit by Six Weeks

March 28, 2011- Michigan, whose unemployment rate has topped 10 percent longer than that of any other state, is about to set another record: its new Republican governor, Rick Snyder, signed a law Monday that will lead the state to pay fewer weeks of unemployment benefits next year than any other state.

Democrats and advocates for the unemployed expressed outrage that a such a hard-hit state will become the most miserly when it comes to how long it pays benefits to those who have lost their jobs. All states currently pay 26 weeks of unemployment benefits, before extended benefits paid by the federal government kick in. Michigan’s new law means that starting next year, when the federal benefits are now set to end, the state will stop paying benefits to the jobless after just 20 weeks. The shape of future extensions is unclear.

The measure, passed by a Republican-led Legislature, took advocates for the unemployed by surprise: the language cutting benefits next year was slipped quietly into a bill that was originally sold as way to preserve unemployment benefits this year.

Think Progress: EXCLUSIVE: DeMint Tells ThinkProgress He Wants To Strip All Federal Employees Of Collective Bargaining Rights

ThinkProgress filed this report from the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines, IA.

March 28, 2011- The defining political story three months into 2011 is the spread of anti-union legislation in the states. Now, a leading senator on the right wants to eliminate collective bargaining rights at a federal level.

During an interview with ThinkProgress in Des Moines this weekend, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), a leader of the Tea Party movement and veritable kingmaker for conservative candidates, made no bones about his desire to diminish the power of public employees. DeMint told ThinkProgress that he “doesn’t believe collective bargaining has any place in government…including at the federal level.” The South Carolina senator then went on to call public employees’ unions an “unelected third party” that enjoyed “monopoly power” in negotiations. “It just doesn’t make any sense,” DeMint quipped:

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