The WØRD – “Solidarity”

This Week’s Guest
Senate Judiciary Committee chair Stephanie Chang
on proposed new common-sense gun safety laws

From the Chair

MDP Chair Lavora Barnes

For the first time in history, 13,000 United Auto Workers members bravely walked off the line on Friday at all Big Three automakers to strike for a fair contract after corporate greed got in the way of negotiations. The targeted strikes of three plants include the Ford Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI where Michiganders are fighting to be able to put food on the table. 

The UAW has brought reasonable demands forward to be compensated fairly for their work and to ensure a pathway for job security in a changing economy, but the Big Three chose to keep building on their historic profits and let their workers starve.

If the Big Three can find the profits to keep lining the pockets of their executives, they should have no problem supporting the workers who made those profits possible. Autoworkers built Michigan’s economy and have continued to be a central pride for the American economy. Workers have made countless sacrifices for our country that deserve to be repaid, and now, they are bravely fighting for the future of labor and our economy. The Michigan Democratic Party stands in solidarity with the UAW as they righteously strike for a fair contract and for a brighter future for Michigan.

75% of Americans side with the union’s 150,000 members in the ongoing negotiations, and this is a ‘which side are you on’ moment for this country. 

To save the auto industry during the Great Recession, autoworkers took massive cuts to their wages and benefits. While the auto companies have recovered and are making record profits, autoworkers haven’t and many struggle to make ends meet. When labor wins, the middle class wins and we are focused on ensuring that security here in Michigan.

Despite united opposition from the NRA and its Republican supporters in the Legislature, Democrats are continuing to work on gun safety bills. Hearings are underway in the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee dealing with one of the most common types of gun violence: shootings growing out of domestic disputes. One of the leaders for gun safety laws in Michigan is our guest this week: Senator Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), the chair of the state Senate Committee on Civil Rights, Judiciary and Public Safety.

She is the first Asian American woman elected to the Michigan legislature. Senator Chang worked as a community organizer in Detroit for nearly a decade before serving two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives and then as the Democratic Floor Leader for her first term in the Senate. Senator Chang has built a strong track record of getting things done. In the state legislature, she has led on air quality and environmental justice, criminal justice reforms, affordable, safe drinking water, and immigrants’ rights issues. 

Before her election to the Legislature, she served as state director for NextGen Climate Michigan, alumni engagement and evaluation coordinator for the Center for Progressive Leadership in Michigan, deputy director for the Campaign for Justice and as an organizer for Michigan United/One United Michigan. Senator Chang earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degrees in public policy and social work from the University of Michigan. She lives in Detroit with her husband and two young daughters.

Stories We’re Following This Week

Biden Defends Striking Autoworkers: They Deserve a ‘Fair Share’ – The New York Times

VIDEO: President Biden Speaks Out in Support of UAW Workers

Michigan Politics and Policy

National Politics