Union Members Converge On Michigan Capitol

LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Hundreds of union members are lobbying Michigan lawmakers to vote against proposals that they say would threaten collective bargaining rights.

WWJ Lansing Bureau Chief Tim Skubick reports that about 300 demonstrators showed up, Tuesday, to protest Emergency Financial Manager Legislation that union leaders say will give the state authority to cancel local contracts.

“They’re elliminating things from public employees, as far as what’s been going on with collective bargaining. It’s a concern…they’re attacking labor unions,” said Lansing UAW President Art Luna.

Skubick reports that some union members are fearful that Michigan could become like Wisconsin regarding the collective bargaining issue.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said that’s not going to happen.

“We’re two very different states, and the way I view it is is part of it is having the dialogue that we’re having right now.  It’s not confrontation with the union, it’s about how we do collective bargaining to achieve a mutual outcome where we can all benefit and win together,” Snyder said.

Snyder said the protests are “part of democracy.”  He said his administration will collectively bargain changes such as state employee concessions with labor unions. 

Those comments notwithstanding, smaller groups of activists and tea party members rallied outside the state Capitol on Tuesday against a variety of proposals that would eliminate tax exemptions including those for pensions and cut school funding.

Most of the protesters outside the Capitol left by early afternoon. But lobbying continued inside and in buildings where lawmakers have offices.

The protests likely will become common now that Republican Gov. Snyder has rolled out his budget proposal for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

  • TaterSalad

    It is now time for Michigan to pass legislation making the state a “Right to Work State”. Why? The rest of the states or at the least, the majority of the states will become Right to Work states and any new or re-located business’s will NOT choose to come to Michigan and have to accept these work rules, legacy costs and higher wages. They just won’t do it and Michigan we loose out on these jobs. This is just a fact.

  • Tatersalad

    Why should a person who wants to work at an auto manufacturer be forced to join a Union inorder to gain employment and have to pay Union dues? This person should have the choice to join or not and not forced.

  • Rebel

    Michigsn must become a right to work state – all one has to do is look at how many new automotive plants are being built in southern states. I have delt with exectives from Japan, Korea and China and none will consider building in Michigan – Honda is in Ohio, but they are non union. Come on Michigan wake up!!

  • Bill

    Come on folks. Unions have done this to themselves with restrictive work rules, forced membership, excessive dues, protection of lazy workers, etc. Wake up and smell the coffee, it’s a new morning

  • LMurph

    The original purpose of unions was to protect workers from being underpaid and overworked as well as being treated fairly. Yes I do believe unions have gotten a bit out of hand, but they need to go back to the basics. I don’t believe getting rid of them will help at all. The only one it will benefit is the corporation who will take advantage of them. Lower wages for employees equals more money in managements pockets.

    As well, instead of trying to bust all the public employees unions and demand concessions, why aren’t we demanding wage and benefit concessions from our members of senate and congress? Seems all they want to hurt is the small guy. Share in the hit!

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