Right-to-work OK draws protesters
LANSING, Mich. — Republicans rushed right-to-work legislation through the Michigan Legislature on Thursday, drawing raucous protests from hundreds of union supporters — some of whom were pepper-sprayed by police when they tried to storm the Senate chamber.
The House voted 58-52 to approve the measure that would prohibit most private unions from collecting fees from nonunion employees.
The Senate was expected to follow, but more votes are necessary because the two chambers' versions differ.
Opponents of right-to-work measures say they drain unions of money and weaken their ability to bargain for good wages and benefits.
Supporters, though, insist that a right-to-work law would boost the economy and jobs.
A victory in Michigan would give the movement its strongest foothold yet in the Rust Belt region, where organized labor has suffered several body blows.
Even before the House vote, about 2,500 protesters streamed inside the Capitol building to prepare for the inevitable after Gov. Rick Snyder joined GOP legislative leaders on Thursday morning in announcing that they would push for swift passage of the right-to-work law.
“This is all about taking care of the hard-working workers in Michigan, being pro-worker and giving them freedom to make choices,” Snyder said during a news conference with House Speaker Jase Bolger and Senate Minority Leader Randy Richardville, both Republicans.
“The goal isn't to divide Michigan. It is to bring Michigan together,” Snyder said.
Lt. Gov. Brian Calley repeatedly gaveled for order as Democratic senators denounced the legislation to applause from protesters in the galley.
At one point, a man shouted: “Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler! That's what you people are.” He was quickly escorted out.
Another later yelled: “We will remember in November!”
Eight people were arrested for resisting and obstructing when they tried to push past two troopers guarding the Senate door.
The Capitol, which was temporarily closed because of safety concerns, reopened in the afternoon, sending hundreds of protesters streaming back inside with chants of “Whose house? Our house!”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S., Cuba patching torn relations with historic accord
- Fracking essentially banned in N.Y.
- Study: At least 786 child abuse victims died despite being on protective services’ radar
- $1.5B more a year — from fees tacked onto phone bills — earmarked for faster Internet
- Lifting limits on Cuba a boon for U.S.
- Use of U.S. steel to fix Alaska terminal causes rift with Canada
- Castle doctrine doesn’t hold up in Montana murder case
- Republican lawmakers vow to block confirmation of any potential ambassador to Cuba
- IRS freezes hiring, stops overtime pay, warns it won’t answer half of its calls amid 3% funding cut
- Detectives crack LA art heist; 9 paintings recovered
- 8 American drug offenders granted clemency, early release