The Right To Work Bill Signed Into Law As Unions Protest In MI

On Tuesday, December 11th, Michigan governor Rick Snyder signed the Right to Work bill into law while more than 10,000 union members and supporters protested at the Capitol in Lansing.  Snyder, who had told constituents he wouldn’t support the bill, changed his mind only last week,  pushing the legislation through a lame duck house with uncommon speed. Unions put out a call on December 6, urging supporters to come to Lansing to try to stop Snyder.  Twenty-four states already have  Right to Work laws on the books. What happens in Michigan, a historically strong state for unions, may well influence the passage of RIght to Work laws nationwide. 

At a press conference after the day’s protests broke up, Snyder claimed the RIght to Work bill is not union busting. Instead he says it’s a law that gives people more choices. Workers can still join a union, he pointed out.   But union members claim that Right to Work means lower wages and fewer benefits as it takes away their power since without certain jobs requiring union membership their numbers and power will dwindle. They fear the rights, benefits and protections that unions have championed for decades will disappear as has happened in the  states that have adopted the law.  (see link here )  Union member David Sweet explained, ” The Right to Work law is wrong. Unions created the middle class and without unions, we will lose it. People have to realize that Unions set workers standards. We set wages. Without us wages will get lower.” according to the UAWs websiteThe bill reverse decades of balanced labor law in Michigan, which has yielded stable industrial relations, good middle-class jobs, and broadly shared prosperity.  Studies have shown that workers in so-called “right to work” states earn an average of $1,500 less annually. 

Protesters sat down in the middle of the Capitol’s rotunda in an act of civil disobedience after the signing of the bill took place. Reverend Jesse Jackson, Michigan senator Gretchen Whitmer and Lansing mayor Virg Bernero made brief statements in support of the unions before joining the protesters. Outside there were two separate incidents where police officers used mace, and one brawl between a person from the Americans for Prosperity and an anti-Right to Work protester. Three arrests were made. James P. Hoffa lawyer and president of the Teamsters was also on hand. He said that this law is a major step backwards for everyone and made it clear the fight against Right to Work is not over. Mayor Bernero told me what happened was despicable. “We are in a colossal war between the 99% and the 1% and today the 1% won. The governor represents the 1%,  but we will be back. In two years a Democrat will be elected and the law will be reversed.” 

For more the passing of the Right to Work Law check out my story on the Progressive ‘s site 

Union Members March in Lansing MI To The State Capitol
Jake Stone, Burner and Boilermakers Union169 and Daryl Honaker, the Operating Engineers Union 324

Union Members and Supporters Protest Against the Right to Work Law at The State Capitol 
Protester Sit in the middle of the State Capitols Routanda 
Jesse Jackson, LLansingMayor Virg Bernero and Michigan Senator Democrat-minority leader, Gretchen Whitmer 
State Police Guard the George W. Romney Building where Snyder’s Office is
Krystal Nowicki and Jamie Krystal eat pizza While Protesting the Right to Work Law
Janitor Colleen Baldwin Says it is Too Bad so Much Will Be Taken From Her Grandchildren
Sign in the garbage at the end of a day of Union led protest against the RIght to Work law 
  Dave Sweet a member of a union for 35 years, He say the Right to Work law is wrong  
Protesters in Front of the George W. Romney Building across from the State Capitol
Corey Hake, iron worker in local 25 Union at the RIght to Work Protest
Governor Rick Snyder of Michigan holds a press conference  
A Union member holds a sign with a Christmas message across from the State Capitol 

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