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Monday, December 10, 2012

“Right to Work” Supporter Billionaire Dick DeVos Has Long History of Abusing Workers’ Rights


From The Michigan Democratic Party:
DeVos Is Behind-the-Scenes Puppeteer in RTW Effort
LANSING – With so-called “right to work” legislation awaiting final approval by Lansing Republicans and Gov. Rick Snyder, the Michigan Democratic Party today begins a series revealing the prime movers behind this unprecedented attack on Michigan workers and middle-class families.
Press reports have placed responsibility for the lame-duck push on this legislation — which Snyder had termed “divisive” during his campaign, but now plans to sign — on Dick DeVos, the failed 2006 GOP candidate for governor. According to MIRS news service, “[T]he former Republican gubernatorial candidate has called individual Republican senators and pushed them for a ‘yes’ vote on Right to Work…. DeVos and former Republican Party Chair Ron Weiser [are] making phone calls to Republican senators to assure them that if they faced a recall threat for supporting RTW, they would help to bankroll an anti-recall threat.” (December 4, 2012)
The record at DeVos family company Amway is a litany of unfair and illegal practices that have harmed workers. Amway classifies its sales employees as “independent contractors,” which allows it to ignore minimum wage, workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation laws, among many other basic worker rights. In 1998, Amway was sued by a terminated employee that was denied leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. In 2000, DeVos laid off more than a thousand workers worldwide in a corporate “restructuring.”
DeVos’ company routinely outsources jobs to low-wage countries. The company’s main manufacturing plant outside the U.S. is located in China. In 2009, the company laid off nearly 100 Michigan white-collar workers and moved their jobs to Costa Rica. The next year, they laid off another 100 production workers from a Michigan warehouse. (Grand Rapids Press, November 1, 2010; Grand Rapid Press, April 30, 2010; Grand Rapid Press, October 16, 2009)
“With DeVos’ record of attacking workers’ rights in Michigan and throughout the world, it is no surprise to see him as the puppeteer pulling the strings on another anti-worker attack,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. “His involvement tells the people of Michigan all they need to know — the ‘right to work’ push isn’t about protecting workers’ rights, it’s about destroying them.”
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