Yesterday Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and GOP legislative leaders announcing “fast-track plans to make Michigan the nation’s 24th right-to-work state,” according to the Detroit Free Press. “Fast-track” was clearly meant seriously, as the lame-duck session moved into action immediately.
From Free Press:
Michigan House passes right-to-work legislation after Democrats walk out to protest closed Capitol
The state House passed the first right-to-work bill late (Thursday) afternoon in a 58-52 vote, but the bill can’t move on to the Senate until the next session day – possibly Friday, if a session is scheduled – because of a procedural move by Democrats who are asking that the vote be reconsidered.
The bill – House Bill 4054 – is one of three separate right-to-work bills now in the Legislature that will eventually be consolidated into two bills. The Senate was debating its own version (Thursday) evening. Both the House and Senate bills deal with private sector employees. The third bill, which deals with public sector employees, excluding police and firefighters, also still is winding its way around the Legislature.
According to the Free Press, Gov. Snyder said in the news conference when he made the announcement:
‘The goal isn’t to divide Michigan. It is to bring Michigan together,’ the governor said, as hundreds of union protesters stormed the Capitol and the governor’s office, vociferously voicing their opposition to the plan.
Michigan State Police reportedly told those who had gathered in protest that the building was “at capacity,”
(b)ut as people walked out of the Capitol, no one was let in.
The crowd started yelling ‘Let us in,’ but the police didn’t relent.
Police arrested several protesters and sprayed mace into the crowd when they tried to rush the Senate floor, said Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk.
‘When several of the individuals rushed the troopers, they used chemical munitions to disperse the crowd,’ he said. ‘It would be a lot worse if someone gets hurt and I failed to act.’
Gov. Snyder said the bill was about the “freedom to choose,” and “fairness and equity in the workplace.” Police and firefighters, however, are excluded.
State Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said the right-to-work issue was poisoning the environment in Lansing.
‘President Obama won the election and the Republicans lost five seats in the House,’ she said. ‘And still these guys don’t think their agenda is extreme enough.’
Snyder unveiled the plan, surrounded by union workers who said they support the legislation and other business and state leaders … .
Obviously those protesting are not in agreement with the “union workers” who joined Snyder. For example:
‘I am adamantly opposed to this,’ said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, who was on his way to Lansing to take part in a rally against the measure. ‘I think it’s a disaster for the state. I think it’s shortsighted and vindictive. The state is going to be in a civil war for the next year.’
(Michigan Gov. Snyder via Michigan.gov)