A letter from a union leader shows that endorsements from organized labor don't come without strings attached.

Saundra Williams, president of the metropolitan Detroit AFL-CIO signed a letter dated April 30, 2010, that stated "... failure to commit to this pledge stating that you will refrain from supporting the "privatization" of public sector jobs, Charter Schools and "Right-To-Work" legislation ... will jeopardize the status of any current or future support of your candidacy for any office."

Williams didn't return an e-mail or phone call seeking comment.

The letter also included a questionnaire sent out by the union asking political candidates specific questions.

The letter states, for instance, that "right-to-work" laws have increased infant mortality.

The questionnaire asks politicians if they support charter schools and if they'd speak out at public meetings. It also asks if they support Wal-Mart stores and if they carry an AT&T cell phone, which the letter states is the only unionized cell phone company.

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Some school districts have saved money by privatizing some services. Durand Area Public Schools administrators said they saved $190,000 privatizing custodial and some cafeteria workers.

University of Michigan economist Don Grimes has said that Michigan should consider right-to-work laws if it wants to go after manufacturing jobs or else risk losing them to the southern states where the law is common.

"What they want is a candidate's pledge that they will continue flushing Michigan's economy down the hole before they will support them," said Leon Drolet, chairman of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. "Smart unions realize they can't rely on Democrats to maintain control of all branches of government forever. They know how to shave off just enough Republicans to prevent reforms."

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See also:

Michigan Capitol Confidential Vote History

A Pair of Republicans Help House Dems Dump Right-to-Work

Right to Work Bill Rejected

Pro-Union Republicans

School Union Denounces Privatization

School Pension Reform Stalls in Senate

GOP Senators, SEIU Taxpayer Giveaways, Campaign Cash and More, OH MY!

Tea Partiers Take on Special Senate Race

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Detroit Prep is a top-rated and economically and racially diverse charter school in the city. It's growth means it needs to move out from a church basement and into a new location. Nearby is a former Detroit Public Schools building, sitting empty for years. But, worried about competition, the public school district refused to sell. For years, district and local government officials in Detroit had worked to block public charter schools. They pushed legislation at the Michigan Capitol to hinder them, refused to sell to them, transferred surplus buildings from the district to the city government and imposed deed restrictions on property sales to private developers. All of it was aimed to hinder or even prevent charter school choice outside the confines of the Detroit school district.

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