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Thousands Rally In Lansing

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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.

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