Anti-Union Bill Triggers Protests at Michigan Capitol

Troopers use pepper spray as governor pushes right-to-work legislation

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 6, 2012 2:48 PM CST

(Newser) – Wisconsin all over again? The nation's newest fight over unions is now under way in Michigan, reports Reuters. Republican Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that he hopes to have right-to-work legislation—making the payment of union dues voluntary—in place by the end of the year. The measure passed the GOP-controlled House this afternoon and could clear the GOP-controlled Senate within a week, reports the Detroit News.

Union protesters converged on the Capitol in Lansing earlier today and tried to storm the Senate floor, but troopers rebuffed them with pepper spray and arrested eight. UAW chief Bob King threatened to push for recalls of legislators if the bill goes forward, as happened in Wisconsin. Two competing quotes:

  • UAW's King: "Every right-to-work state in America has lower wages, lower benefits, greater income equality, more discrimination, less equality in the workplace. Right-to-work is wrong for Michigan."
  • Gov. Snyder: "Quite often people call it right-to-work, but I think it is a much better description to say that this is about fairness in the workplace and equality in the workplace."

David Dudenhoefer, left, a right-to-work supporter, receives a thumbs down from a union worker during a rally in Lansing, Mich., Thursday.
David Dudenhoefer, left, a right-to-work supporter, receives a thumbs down from a union worker during a rally in Lansing, Mich., Thursday.   (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
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Video of the protests from the Detroit Free Press   (Detroit Free Press)

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