The Michigan Welfare Rights Organization sponsored this protest Sept. 29, 2011 against proposed cuts to cash assistance for poor.

Release by UAW Local 6000

More than 900 of Michigan’s poorest families losing cash assistance – and chance to appeal

DETROIT – Here’s something else to be thankful for this Thanksgiving: On Nov. 28, protesters will rally to remind those who support corporations over Michigan’s poor that the 99 percent will not stop fighting until social and economic justice is a reality for all.

Beginning Oct. 1, nearly 12,000 families of Michigan’s poorest of the poor – including over 29,000 children – were thrown off the state’s cash assistance programs to fund tax breaks for corporations. The new law, which limits Michigan residents to 48 months of lifetime welfare cash benefits, was passed by the majority Republican legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder in September.

DHS head Maura Corrigan and Gov. Rick Snyder

The 929 families who believe their cash assistance shouldn’t be discontinued have filed appeals.

But adding insult to injury, the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS), directed by former state Supreme Court justice Maura Corrigan, instituted the so-called “Rocket Docket” system to quickly dispose of those appeals cases.

Hearings are scheduled for Nov. 28-29 at DHS offices across the state.

UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada

“UAW Local 6000 members are on the front lines every day to work for Michigan families and help them navigate a welfare system that’s getting meaner by the day,” said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada, who directs the union’s Public Sector and Health Care Servicing Department. “Our members who work at DHS offices as social workers and welfare eligibility specialists are outraged by the new law and the insidious ‘Rocket Docket’ system instituted under the guise of saving taxpayer dollars.

“We don’t want to see 29,000 more of Michigan’s poorest children thrown into deeper poverty,” Estrada added.

Here are details about Monday’s event:

Who: Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president; UAW Local 6000 members; retirees and community leaders; Michigan State Sens. Tupac A. Hunter and Coleman A. Young II; Michigan Reps. Fred Durhal Jr. and Rashida Tlaib.

What: Protest of state’s “Rocket Docket” hearing process to accelerate denial of cash assistance benefits to poor families.

When: Monday, Nov. 28, at 8 a.m.

Where: Michigan DHS office, 14061 Lappin, Detroit, MI 48205 (near Seven Mile Road and Gratiot)

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