Right-to-work: Good or bad for Michigan?
Thursday was a busy day in Lansing.
Everyone had something to say after Gov. Rick Snyder and the Legislature's top leaders said they will push for passage of right-to-work legislation in Michigan.
Snyder made the announcement during a roundtable discussion in Lansing.
Americans for Prosperity call it the "shot heard around the world for workplace freedom"
In a statement, Scott Hagerstrom, Michigan director of Americans for Prosperity said "A victory over forced unionization in a union stronghold like Michigan would be an unprecedented win on par with Wisconsin that would pave the way for right to work in states across our nation. On Tuesday, around 300 of our activists met with their lawmakers to stress the importance of this issue.
Over the past week thousands of our activists have called their lawmakers in support of workplace freedom," he wrote. "The union bosses overreached in Michigan when they tried to strong arm their way into our Constitution, and we are proud to stand with the elected officials who are going to strike a blow for workplace freedom."
Michigan State Police say they used chemical spray on right-to-work protesters who to tried rush into the Senate chamber at the state Capitol, and minority Democrats in the Legislature accuse Republican leaders of taking a "shameful step" to undermine free speech.
Police temporarily closed the Capitol because of concerns for the safety of people and the building with hundreds more protesters inside.
Protesters then locked out of the Michigan Capitol chanted "let us in" and other slogans up to the House chamber as they stood on the grounds below.
Many were clad in union hats, coats and vests. They yelled just near a tent set up by the Michigan chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a champion of the legislation.
Teacher Michelle Cook of the Detroit suburb of Hamtramck says the leaders are "trying to erode our collective bargaining rights."
State Representative Maureen L. Stapleton in statement said, "As a former Detroit Federation of Teachers member, and daughter of a Detroit Police Officer, I cannot sit idly by while extremists and out
of-state special interests push a radical agenda to obliterate Michigan's economy," stated Representative Stapleton. "Right-to-Work states lead the nation in unemployment, residents without health
Insurance and anemic wage growth. I would caution the governor championing any of these metrics in an attempt to placate the flip-flopping Michigan Chamber of Commerce's attempt to reinvent the
Great Lake state into the can't-afford-it state."
The Michigan Democratic Party called it a "sad day in Michigan history."
In a Statement the party wrote, "Speaker Bolger and Senator Richardville have taken the unprecedented and shameful step of closing the Capitol building to Michigan
citizens, pepper-spraying and arresting people who are attempting to exercise their right to free speech. At their news conference this morning, Snyder claimed this legislation will help workers. If they
re interested in helping workers, attacking them and arresting them for speaking out is completely counterproductive. If they’re interested in helping workers, shutting down dissent is not the way to do it."