LANSING, Mich., Feb. 17, 2022 — Today, members of the Michigan House Democratic Caucus joined a coalition of labor voices in downtown Lansing in support of the United Six — a group of electricians formerly employed by United Electric Contractors. In a lawsuit filed last month, the group alleges that UEC maintained a retaliatory and hostile work environment where racial slurs and discrimination against Black and brown workers were commonplace. They held the demonstration in front of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan’s Lansing office — the trade association affiliated with UEC.
“Speaking up for what’s right should be praised, not punished,” said state Rep. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon), chair of the Labor Caucus. “When you can get canned for standing up for yourself and standing against discrimination, there’s a problem with not only the company, but the system, too. While most businesses operate with respect and dignity toward their workers, we must stand up to the ones that don’t. As legislators, it’s our duty to ensure that all workers, union and non-union, are heard, supported and given the protections they deserve.”
Earlier this week, the Labor Caucus introduced a 34-bill package that would restore workers’ ability to organize, bring back collective bargaining rights and introduce new, comprehensive workers’ rights.
“Michigan’s workers are vital to our state and identity,” said state Rep. Brenda Carter (D-Pontiac), vice chair of the Labor Caucus. “That’s why it pains me to hear how the United Six were treated by their bosses and colleagues. Racism and unsafe working environments cannot be tolerated, and we can’t allow corporations to punish hard workers for doing the right thing by raising their concerns. I know the entire Labor Caucus and I will continue to advocate for the United Six for as long as it takes in their fight for justice.”