Detroit Protest March Targets ‘Dictator Law’

DETROIT (WWJ) – A small group gathered in downtown Detroit on Thursday to protest Michigan’s emergency manager law. About 35 members of the group “We Are The People Of Oakland County” marched from Grand Circus Park to the Spirit of Detroit to draw attention to their push for a referendum on the law next fall.

Metro Detroit AFL-CIO Treasurer Chris Michalakis said they are worried that Gov. Rick Snyder will appoint an emergency manager to take over Detroit.

“In the labor movement we’re very concerned about this. We want to stand up and fight against this unjust law,” Michalakis told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Beth Fisher. “I addition to it being a threat to democracy, it’s a threat to our collective bargaining rights.”

As enacted, a new state law passed last year allows a governor-appointed emergency manager to assume the authority and responsibility of locally elected officials. It includes the power to terminate collective bargaining agreements and even dissolve a unit of government.

Some have called the new law unconstitutional. Charles Brown of Detroit calls it a “dictator law.”

“It will not improve city services such as … numbers of busses, police, fire,” said Brown. “In Pontiac and Flint we see dictators are cutting police fire and other services. So, this is not going to help improve the situation in Detroit.”

The group says some politicians are working to create a law that would prevent a vote on the issue.

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