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Michigan Bills Limiting Union Power Pass in Legislature

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, corruption, dishonesty, economy, ethics, freedoms, Govtfearmongering, Labor, lies, media, obama, politics, propaganda, republicans, Unions, workers Rights )

- 1235 days ago -
The Michigan Legislature approved sweeping legislation on Tuesday that vastly reduces the power of organized labor in a state that has been a symbol of union dominance and served as an incubator for union activity over decades of modern American -->

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Kit B. (276)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 11:20 am
(Photo Credit: Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times)
Protesters argued on the steps of the Michigan Capitol on Tuesday as state lawmakers considered right to work legislation.

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Legislature approved sweeping legislation on Tuesday that vastly reduces the power of organized labor in a state that has been a symbol of union dominance and served as an incubator for union activity over decades of modern American labor history.

The two bills, approved by the House of Representatives over the shouts of thousands of angry union protesters who gathered on the lawn outside the Capitol building, will among other things, bar both public and private sector union workers from being required to pay fees as a condition of their employment.

The bills have already been approved by the State Senate, and Gov. Rick Snyder has said he will sign the legislation as soon as this week. But Democrats could still attempt to delay the formal approval of the bill on procedural grounds until Wednesday.

From a distance, there would seem no more unlikely a success for such legislation than Michigan, where labor, hoping to demonstrate strength after a series of setbacks, asked voters last month to enshrine collective bargaining into the State Constitution.

But that ballot measure failed badly, and suddenly a reverse drive was under way that has brought the state to a moment startling in its symbolism. How the home of the United Automobile Workers finds itself on the cusp of becoming the 24th state to ban compulsory union fees — and only the second state to pass such legislation in a decade — is the latest chapter in a larger battle over the role of unions in the nation’s midsection.

As the debate over the legislation heated up Tuesday, the authorities closed the Capitol after saying the building had reached its capacity of more than 2,000. That left thousands of noisy union members — many dressed in red — on the lawn outside, although the doors to the building were opened again later in the morning.

Streets around the Capitol were also closed to traffic and clusters of state police, some equipped with riot gear, kept posts throughout the building and along nearby streets.

At least two school districts around the state announced that they would close for the day, as word spread that teachers and other workers planned to protest in Lansing.

As Republicans in the state House moved swiftly to pass the measures, union demonstrators outside — the sound of their drumbeats becoming increasingly loud inside the chamber — chanted, “Kill the bill! Kill the bill!”

Once the first bill — related to public employees — was approved by a 58-to-51 vote, union supporters cried out from the gallery, “Recall! Recall! Recall!”

Republicans hold a 64-to-46 majority in the state House, and aside from a few dissenters, the vote was generally along party lines.

A similar bill covering private sector unions was passed by the House about an hour-and-a-half later by a 58-to-52 vote.

Democrats around the nation, including President Obama, have denounced the measures.

“You know, these so-called right-to-work laws, they don’t have to do with economics,” said Mr. Obama, during a visit to a truck factory outside Detroit on Monday. “They have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”

Before the first House vote on Tuesday, Democrats had sought to slow down the proceedings employing whatever means they could think up. One tactic was in offering amendments. Among the suggestions: Send the question to a public vote. Each amendment was rejected.

“This is being forced down people’s throats,” said Jon M. Switalski, a Democrat . “It’s being done so in a very poor way — in lame duck with no committee meetings.”

Democrats, one by one, recalled their family histories in labor unions and reminisced about what unions once meant to the country, but primarily, they talked about their objections to the speed and method of the Republican-sponsored legislation.

Joan Bauer, a Democrat, said she was saddened and sickened by what was happening.

“I cannot believe this legislations was rammed through in one day,” Ms. Bauer said.

But Rick Olson, a Republican, said the legislation was a matter of worker choice, not of harming unions. Mr. Olson described the move as “tough love” for unions.

The success of the legislation is a reflection of mounting tension between labor leaders and Michigan Republicans — who took control of the state two years ago — and the result of a change of position by Mr. Snyder, a political novice who had long avoided the issue because, he had said, it was too divisive.

It is also an effort being closely watched — and fueled, labor leaders say — by national conservative groups who see the outcome in Michigan as an emblem for similar measures in other states with far thinner union histories.

“Everybody has this image of Michigan as a labor state,” said Bill Ballenger, the editor of Inside Michigan Politics. “But organized labor has been losing clout, and the Republicans saw an opportunity, and now the chickens are coming home to roost.”

Since the wave of Republican wins in 2010 in statehouses in the Midwest, campaigns to limit unions have boiled over in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and elsewhere. But in Michigan, where Republicans also won control, those efforts had seemed more muted, with some in the party, including Mr. Snyder, shying away from the broadest measures.

As it has throughout the country, membership in unions has fallen here in recent decades — about 17.5 percent of Michigan residents are members — and the statewide ballot proposal failed by 14 percentage points on Nov. 6, even as Mr. Obama won the state.

By: By MONICA DAVEY | The New York Times |

Roseann d. (178)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 11:27 am
Strike and let the CEOs, lobbyists, ALEC, governor and state officials do some work for a change. Let the corporate cronies do some work for a change.

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 11:28 am

No discussions, no hearings, no rights for any one. Michigan became one of our strongest Union states under then Governor George Romney in 1965. These issues are supposed to have state wide support but since his election Governor Rick Snyder has shown nothing but contempt of the rights of the people of Michigan since his election. One of many statements he made in his election bid was that he had no interest in making the state of Michigan a "right to work" state (a misnomer, if ever there was one). He has rescinded that vow along with almost every thing he said he would do if elected. Americans are paying a high price for falling for the Con-job of the 2010 elections.

Roseann d. (178)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 11:37 am
I guess if there is a silver lining, the GOP is destroying their brand, showing their Hellish vision for America and making themselves irrevocably irrelevant. There's no forgetting the cutthroats who screwed you over.

Arielle S. (316)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 11:56 am
How sad - it would seem we are on our way back to the Dark Ages again....

Barbara K. (67)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 1:10 pm
I'm a Michigan resident and I can tell you that this is a sad day for the residents of our state. I believe that election fraud happened here. There is no way that the President took this state, but the Bill for protecting the Unions did not. It just doesn't pass the smell test. This governor is crooked as they come, and his fellow Tbaggers are just as crooked. They don't count Dem votes and won't let them speak in Congress. I hope that those who did vote for these monsters live to regret it. They have as much to lose as the rest of us. We have a Recall petition that this snake has locked up in courts for a year and a half; with false claims that the font is too small. It isn't. We have been suppressed about as much as anyone can stand and it looks like it may become violent. What else can they expect when we are losing our democracy on a daily basis to a band of crooks who are raping and pillaging this wonderful state?

Jim Phillips (3201)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 1:12 pm
The voters need to get together and throw those g o p puke scums out of office.
Recall the lot of them!

Michigan - Right to work legislation.

Sen. Gretchen Whitmer awesome speech. (D) 23rd district East Lansing


VIDEO: Rep. Brandon Dillon eviscerates Michigan Republicans for jamming Right to Work though without debate or input

Michigan State House Representative from Grand Rapids Brandon Dillon gave the Republicans in the House an earful about their hypocrisy and outrageous behavior in jamming Right to Work for Less legislation through with no public input, no hearings, and no opportunity for Democrats to offer amendments. It’s a thing of beauty:

Partial transcript:

It’s particularly unfortunate that with a bill that probably has the highest public policy impact of any that we’ve debated here in the last 50 years, the other side didn’t have the common courtesy or the guts to allow the public to hear what they were doing.
No committee hearings.

No opportunity to debate amendments.

No public input.

Republican staffers in the gallery taking up seats so that taxpayers who traveled from across the state to get here are locked out.

I heard one of my colleagues talk about the “great transparency” we have in this chamber since the latest leadership has come in. THIS is transparency? THIS is what passes for transparency here? If you support this legislation, and I respect the sponsor of the amendment because he’s been very clear over the last two years about why he thinks the state should go this route, but the rest of the people here don’t have the guts to talk about this in front of people in this state.

That’s shameful. That’s not democracy. This is where democracy goes to die today. Because the majority in this state who lost 52% of the vote in state House races doesn’t have the guts to defend this.

I haven’t heard one demand that we have a committee hearing on this. This was announced today by the Governor that this was going through. WITH an appropriation! You’re not even willing to take this to the voters!

I’ve heard people talk that this is retribution for Proposition 2. Whatever you think about Prop 2, one thing is clear: the sponsors of that had the common courtesy to take it to the voters. They got beat fair and square. Why can’t YOU take this to the voters? Because you KNOW what will happen. You’re doing this in the lame duck because you KNOW in the next session YOU WON’T HAVE THE VOTES!

This is an outrage and anybody in this chamber who is willing to vote for a bill that changes the precedent in this state of such consequence without even allowing us to offer a real amendment does not deserve to be here.

Thank you.

Ty, Kit.

JL A. (286)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 1:27 pm
Update: video of 30,000 protesters

Many factors in this story that courts should frown on heavily...sad that Michigan has to experience this tragic abuse.

Barbara K. (67)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 1:45 pm
Absolutely! We need lawyers to come to Michigan and I've been pleading for them to come and let us file some lawsuits for all the illegal crap the Rs are pulling here. People are so upset that I hope that no other R ever gets elected to anything in this state again. They are anti-American and prove it over and over. They are so in love with the Kochs and their ilk that they betray the people who pay their wages, their insurance, their pensions. We will not forget it and I hope that we don't ever let it be forgotten what happened when the Rs took over Michigan. And we need to have the voting machines examined as were the ones in Ohio and Florida last election. While all eyes were on them, the election fraud was sneaking it in here. NEVER EVER VOTE REPUBLICAN !

Barbara K. (67)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 1:58 pm
You can go here and see pics of the Michigan Capitol and the over 30,000 people marching on it today. Several good pics here.

Sue Matheson (79)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 1:58 pm
this is sad news for Michigan

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 2:08 pm

I have to say Barb that Gov Snyder seems to look like the cat that ate the canary and not a scared kitty. In fact, a crook with an over-sized cigar in his mouth is the image I have of Rick Snyder. This was brought up on the news on Sunday - then was over by just after lunch yesterday - that must be world record speed for a bill getting through any state legislator. I would say, that Michigan has no choice but to rid themselves of this chapter in their history. Wisconsin is still paying for the amazing goof-ups by Scott, and the cut of basic human rights. I would ask "What's wrong with these governors?" But I think we all know and understand the answers to that.

Roseann d. (178)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 3:18 pm
Dirty dawgs. Then they wonder why they lose elections. Just reinforces and confirms the lesson...never trust the GOP. Remember for the next election and Anonymous shold watch their electronic voting system like a hawk because cheating and stealing is the only way they can win in future elections. Time to strike.

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 3:26 pm

Another thing the Grand Old Poops are doing in Michigan is passing some of the most Anti-woman laws, even worse than the southern states. Say Good Bye to any form of personal freedom. All due for the governor's signature today, or is that King of Michigan?

Past Member (0)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 4:05 pm

Lois Jordan (62)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 5:51 pm
Maybe the only tiny silver lining here is that Obama spoke in MI and gave quite a speech defending the people of MI and dissing Right to Work. If only he'd done that several months ago! Let's see if he follows up and puts his money where his mouth is.

Krystal R. (123)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 8:24 pm
Michigan and Wisconsin, Mining Bills .. My Mom is Right, She hit is on the Nose, They are killing off the endangered species , putting these gun laws up, in any states they can push republican rules, Mining laws are over powering the USA and Fracking is coming in, Horses, Wolves, Bison are casualties of War... We need to start working together and getting this under control. or Mother Earth is going to lose... Kit, She is right... And we have wasted well over a year looking the wrong way. We thought we could over right the laws. But, It's going to take sheer gather of forces... they have the money we need the people.

Kit B. (276)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 8:32 pm

What can Obama do for the state of affairs within Michigan? He can support the protesters, he can say a lot of things, but he limited by the Constitution and the laws. People voted FOR these new Governors, now they will have to wait till the next election to turn things around.

Krystal and Roxy are right about this, the destruction of Union Rights - Human Rights are all indicative of policies that are killing our lands, the natural habitats of all animals and destroying our Earth.

Billie C. (2)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 10:23 pm
when you have to pay to work at a job something is wrong. if you want to be in a union be in one but nobody should be forced to be in a union or pay for the right to work even if their job isn't union. unions have gone to far when they make people pay just to hold a job. unions kill more jobs than they keep. the workers lose, the companies lose that are forced out of business but the union gets their money up front. no way would i ever pay some union to have a job.

Susanne R. (237)
Tuesday December 11, 2012, 10:25 pm
How about petitioning for the recall of Michigan's tea party governor?

Dorothy N. (63)
Wednesday December 12, 2012, 3:27 am
But with all of the voter suppression and electoral cheating going on in Republican States, can it be said (without qualification) that people definitely did vote these guys in?

Certainly, all things are possible; I'm just wondering how likely some things are...


Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 12, 2012, 12:47 pm
We should ALL be very afraid. The poverty and loss of rights ahead is unimaginable.
I'm stunned at the loss of democracy. At the wide spread support for it.

Deborah W. (6)
Wednesday December 12, 2012, 1:30 pm
Just like the BO stench from the White House, unions have "evolved" from hope and change to power and greed -- screw the masses!

Gloria H. (88)
Wednesday December 12, 2012, 5:13 pm
right- to -work is a load of unusable manure. "be gratefull you have a job" be verrrry verrryy gratefull. Make sure the boss is always very very happy. You can be here one day and replaced the next. Be very gratefull. Be very gratefull. You belong to me now. Now get back on your feet and go back to work. Close the door quietly.

Kit B. (276)
Wednesday December 12, 2012, 5:50 pm

That's about it, Gloria. Those who live in "right to work" states know by now that it means just the opposite of that.

Roseann d. (178)
Wednesday December 12, 2012, 7:35 pm
Why is anyone caught off-guard that the GOP rammed this through? We know they lie, cheat, steal and are not good for their word. Vote GOP at your peril. Don't vote to slit your own throat.

Cam V. (417)
Thursday December 13, 2012, 2:30 am
Good for Michigan. Maybe this will help attract jobs to the state and make them more competitive.

John Gregoire (292)
Thursday December 13, 2012, 5:41 am
I know you don't agree but unions of late have been the root of many of our fiscal problems and need to go or reform especially for public employees and professionsal who should not be unionized at all.

My Dad worked hard and finnally landed a job as a master machinist at a jet engine plant after the fabric mills moved south (sound familiar -he was a millwright). He was forced to join the union and pay a considerbale amount into the pockets of the fat cat union bosses. Then they went on strike. My dad thought he was making a fair wage and refused. he was beaten to within an inch of his life by the union goos. I DETEST UNIONS.

John Gregoire (292)
Thursday December 13, 2012, 5:43 am
Sorry, that subject upsets me. I fully support the MI initiative and the 25 other smart staes who have similar laws for fair employment. A study showed that the non-forced union worked earned 300 more than the union person.
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