Are Midwest Governors Backing Down On Right to Work?

Last month, Changing Gears’ Niala Boodhoo took a look at Wisconsin, a year after Republican Gov. Scott Walker won legislation that strips most public employees of their bargaining rights.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Now, The Atlantic Monthly is weighing in with its own take on Walker, and it had a tidbit that caught our eye. Staff writer Molly Ball asked Walker if he supported a Right to Work law, like the one that recently passed the Indiana legislature.

Walker replied, “Not oppose it, it’s just not something we’re pursuing right now.” He went on, “It’s not something I’m pursuing right now, nor have any plan of pursuing.”

That sounds almost word for word what Michigan’s Republican governor, Rick Snyder, says about a Right to Work law, which would prevent unions from collecting mandatory dues when employees decline to join. Continue reading “Are Midwest Governors Backing Down On Right to Work?”

Down The Stretch They Come In The Michigan Primary

It snowed overnight in Michigan, providing an icy backdrop as Republican presidential candidates kicked off the final weekend of campaigning before Tuesday’s primary.

Things got off to a quick start. United Auto Workers members gathered on a downtown Detroit parking garage rooftop Friday morning, staging a protest in advance of Mitt Romney’s speech to the Economic Club of Detroit.

Our friends at WXYZ-TV are broadcasting Romney’s speech live. The lunch is scheduled to begin at noon ET.

Romney is speaking at Ford Field, normally home to the Detroit Lions, as polls show he’s taken a slight lead over Pennsylvania’s former U.S. senator, Rick Santorum.

The Five Thirty Eight blog says Romney now has a 67 percent chance of beating Santorum on Tuesday. Its calculations show Romney taking 41.1 percent of the vote, with Santorum getting 36.4 percent. The next closest candidate is Ron Paul with 11.9 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich with 9.3 percent. Continue reading “Down The Stretch They Come In The Michigan Primary”

How To Change The Dark And Dirty Image Of Manufacturing, A Live Web Chat With The Creator Of The Edge Factor

Last week, we told you about a new show called The Edge Factor. The show is trying to give a view of manufacturing as it exists today: high-tech, challenging and cool. Join us here at 1p.m EST, noon Central time for a live web chat with Jeremy Bout, creator of The Edge Factor.

Click here for more info on the show. Click here to watch the pilot episode.

The chat will go live at 1p.m. EST!

Contest! Send Us Your Recipes For Our Midwest Family Collection

As part of our Your Family Story series, we’re collecting recipes that have been passed down within families. Send in your mother’s, grandfather’s, or cousins’ famous recipe for goulash, pozole, dumplings, babka — anything that’s descended from your ethnic roots.

We’re collecting recipes from this very second until midnight on Wednesday. Changing Gears will publish all the recipes in our Midwest Family Collection. The winning recipe, to be selected by the Changing Gears team, will be announced here and on our partner websites. As a prize, the winner will collect a grab bag of public radio goodies.

So, get cooking! We want to include you in our collection.

Midwest Memo: Fighting Right To Work, The New Value Of The “Old Economy”

Right to Fight Reuters reports that Indiana union members are expected to be in court today to try to overturn the state’s new Right to Work law.

$50 million That’s what the federal government expects to spend this year fighting invasive Asian Carp.

Ohio power State regulators in Ohio have overturned electricity price increases they approved in December. But, as partner station WCPN Ideastream reports, the fight isn’t over. Meanwhile, a trash to energy plan in Cleveland is showing signs of life, despite strong opposition.

Down, down, down The number of union jobs in Ohio continues to decline. The Dayton Daily News says union numbers in the state have been falling for at least the last 10 straight years.

Lockout over? A three-month lockout at Cooper Tire could be coming to an end, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Workers peace out CNNMoney takes a look at “Michigan’s Incredible Shrinking Workforce.”

Manufacturing, yo A new report says in order to build the future economy, Michigan should look to the “old economy.”

Occupy movement About 60 employees of a Chicago window-making company occupied their plant for 11 hours yesterday. They were trying to stop the plant’s closing. Partner station WBEZ reports the workers claimed victory after owners agreed to keep the plant open an extra 90 days. The workers will now try to find a buyer, or raise money to buy the plant themselves.

The Auto Bailout Gets The Spotlight As Republicans, Democrats Spar

About midway through Wednesday night’s Republican presidential debate in Mesa, Arizona, moderator John King of CNN turned to a topic that’s front and center in the Michigan primary: the auto bailout.

It momentarily turned into a free for all between Michigan’s native son, Mitt Romney, and Pennsylvania’s former U.S. senator, Rick Santorum, over what kind of help the federal government should have given the auto companies. You can read and see CNN’s coverage here.

On Thursday, President Barack Obama’s campaign jumped into the fray with a new television ad that began airing in Michigan, which holds its primary next Tuesday.

The ad, called Made in America, contends Republicans turned their back on the industry in 2008 and 2009, when the automakers went to Washington for federal assistance. Continue reading “The Auto Bailout Gets The Spotlight As Republicans, Democrats Spar”

Midwest Memo: Budget Cuts In Illinois, Surprising Home Sales And The UAW Plans Protests

Budget cuts Illinois Governor Pat Quinn outlined plans yesterday to cut the state’s pension costs and Medicaid programs. Partner station WBEZ Chicago says Quinn also plans to close two prisons and consolidate dozens of state offices.

Teacher teacher The Wall Street Journal looks at a shakeup for poor performing schools in Chicago, and sees a trend. More Democratic mayors are challenging teacher unions.

Clean energy ballot push Partner station WCPN Ideastream Cleveland reports there’s a new ballot initiative underway that would let voters choose whether the state should borrow billions to invest in clean energy. Turns out, environmentalists have nothing to do with the ballot initiative.

Surprise! It sold A busy real estate market is surprising some sellers in Northeast Ohio. Home sales were up more than 25 percent for the region in January, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

UAW protest plans The conservative web site, The Daily Caller, says it’s found evidence that the UAW plans to train 100,000 people for “The 99% Spring” protest movement. The Detroit News has a story. Changing Gears has discussed the UAW’s connection to the movement before.

Going private Proposals in Michigan would open the door to privately-run prisons.

Windy city The city of Milwaukee’s wind turbine is officially up!

Dear People Who Don’t Know Anything About Detroit, Your Jokes Are Dumb.

A Detroit hipster

Hipsters. What with their mustaches, skinny jeans and bicycles, how are they not just the most adorable creatures in the world? But if there’s one thing they love even more than that navy-blue American Apparel hoodie with the white piping, it’s irony. And where do they most love casting their ironic gaze? On themselves, of course.

Which brings us to this fine piece of bloggery that’s been making the rounds. It’s written by none other than “Austin’s Blogger of the Year,” Lauren Modery.

Modery writes:

Sometimes it feels like there is no place more hipster-plentiful than Austin, Texas …But are other cities unscathed by the beast? Smaller, up-and-coming cities that are like how Austin was before ‘we’ showed up?

She then lists three cities that are not in the Midwest, and gently pokes fun at the hipsters there. I’ll be honest, I barely skimmed this part. But then, Modery gets to her final city on the brink of “hipsterfication,” Detroit:

Continue reading “Dear People Who Don’t Know Anything About Detroit, Your Jokes Are Dumb.”

35 Years of Letters Within a Midwestern Family

Jillian Jones Sisko of Michigan writes:

Letter-writing has always been an important part of my family’s legacy.

My mother discovered her family origins through letters written in the early 1900’s that were found in a desk drawer in an attic in Epernay, France. The letter was written by my grandfather and addresses to his brother. When my mother discovered the letters, she started communicating with her family.

When my oldest sister left for college in the 70’s, my father, Wayne Muren, began writing weekly letters just as my great grandfather did many years prior. The letters served as a source of inspiration for my sister and as well as a blanket of comfort.

After all five children grew up and graduated from college, several moved away. Wayne kept writing letters. To this day, 35 years later, I am blessed to still receive a weekly letter filled with newspaper/magazine articles. The no. 10 envelope that was once delivered to my college dormitory is now a large manila envelope packed with news and information.

Jillian's mother and her father Wayne with a stack of letters

The letters are sent to not only his children, but also to his 11 grandchildren. The letters are now mailed in large envelopes which accompany 10-20 newspaper clippings to keep the family up-to-date with current events as well as comic strips from a local artist.

This gift of communication is one that I hope will never stop arriving at my door for many years to come. This ritual is now our family tradition.