LANSING (WWJ) – Union members took to the state capitol steps, Wednesday, rallying against some of Governor Rick Snyder’s budget proposals.

Teachers, iron workers, postal workers and health care providers from across Michigan were among those crowding the lawn in front of the state capitol. Members of around 20 different unions were expected to participate.

WWJ’s Marie Osborne reports that most of the protesters are tired of what they say is an assault on their way of life. In particular, many say they want to get the attention of, not only the Governor, but of the legislature as well.

Other groups said they were upset about proposed cuts to education funding and other programs.

“We won’t go quietly,” read one sign.

Some rallying workers said they took vacation time or a personal day to attend the rally. Others say they have lost their jobs. Wednesday morning, 82 DDOT bus drivers called in sick to work. It was rumored they would be participating in the rally.

WWJ’s Pat Sweeting spoke with Al Garret, president of Michigan AFSCME Council 25.

“What we see, on all levels of our government, today is an attempt to deal with the fiscal problems we have by strapping it on the back of working and middle class families,” Garret said.

Garret said workers were bussed in from Detroit, Warren, Kalamazoo, Flint and Escanaba for the event.

Bishop Thomas Gumbleton was around the protest area and decided to take part and show his support.

“I’m one hundred percent behind these efforts, and it just thrills me to see so many people really standing up and speaking out for their own rights,” Gumbleton said.

Meantime, Governor Snyder, speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 Wednesday morning, told Joe Donovan and Roberta Jasina some dissent was expected.

“That’s democracy,” Snyder said. “So, I respect their right to have their say and… I’m sure they’ll be quite vocal on that and we also need to remember they’re a lot of good people out there that are very supportive of what we’re trying to do because it’s all about reinventing Michigan.”

More from our interview with the Governor at this link.

Comments (6)
  1. Judith says:

    First Snyder trains financial managers.(Just what did they learn in class and what are their qualifications?) Then he takes huge amounts of funding from schools and cities putting them into financial crisis. Then he sends his financial managers in to take over. They, in turn, void all contracts. Walla! The perfect plan to destroy unions. I gotta’ give the man credit. He found a way to hurt thousands of the middle class , and it’s all legal.
    Where is all the money going that is being saved? Answer…into the pockets of the rich businessmen.
    Under his plan, if you aren’t rich, you are going to get poorer!. No longer can the middle class make a decent living. In fact, the middle class will be wiped out!

  2. Shawn says:

    Every time I turn on the television or radio to watch or listen, I hear Governor Snyder talking about reinventing Michigan and creating jobs for the people. How is laying off thousands of public employees (i.e., police officers, teachers, fire fighters, ambulance drivers, etc.) creating more jobs? Isn’t this eliminating jobs? Without a doubt, this is going to be a record year for home foreclosures and Chapter 13 bankruptcies in Michigan…

  3. Dennis says:

    ummm, 82 union members call in sick and participate in the so called protest. Shocking. Fire them and give the jobs to those who want to work. Let’s face facts, state employees have not right to unionize against the tax payers. And the union propaganda about destroying the middle class is pure bunk, the sooner the unions are history the better for all. End the corruption and justify your existence, back to self reliance and taking care of ourselves, not relying on others for hand outs and protection. It’s 2011, not the 1920’s-30’s. The only abuse today is what the unions are dishing out to taxpayers and on a smaller scale private industry. Thank heavens the unions are fading into the sunset, their usefulness passed decades ago.

  4. K. says:

    Why does everyone always say to ‘give the jobs to people who want to work’? That is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. People are given sick and personal days which they will be paid for regardless of whether or not they use them… what difference does it make if they used them to rally or get paid at the end of the year? As a taxpayer, I would much rather pay those bus drivers to take time off and fight for what they believe in than see the results of what could happen if they dont. Stop whining and be proud that people are finally regaining their voices. Do you really think its fair to take money away from the working citizens (teachers, police, firemen, etc) and give it to a corperation who will put it back in their pocket? Wake up. Do you realize how many jobs will be lost if the government gets its way? Things are not even final and I already know one officer who was downsized from the police force just today… he was three years from retirement. Unless you are extremely wealthy, you need to realize what is going on… and if you are extremely wealthy, then you need to keep your mouth shut when it comes to things you know nothing about.

  5. Judy says:

    It’s about time! Snyder wants to save the economy on the backs of the middle class and the retired.

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