Police to Increase Presence as Right-to-Work Battle Continues in Michigan

Yahoo Contributor Network

Michigan is set to become the 24th right-to-work state if bills that were passed in both the state House and Senate on Thursday are signed into law. The Detroit News and other media outlets reported that thousands of protesters stood outside the steps of the Capitol in Lansing to voice their opposition to the legislation. Democrats in both chambers held a walkout before the vote on each bill.

Gov. Rick Snyder has indicated that he will sign the legislation if it arrives on his desk. If he signs the measure into law, Michigan will become only the second so-called "rust belt" state to opt in favor of right-to-work legislation.

Here is some of the key information to emerge regarding the movement towards right-to-work legislation in Michigan, and the reaction to it.

* If passed, the right-to-work legislation will make it illegal in the state of Michigan to require that a person be a member of, or pay union dues to, a union in order to be hired for a job.

* The discussion about each of the right-to-work bills will resume on Tuesday. Police told the Detroit Free Press and other media outlets on Friday that they intend to strengthen the number of officers both in and around the Capitol that day, since right-to-work is "such a controversial and a very personal issue to so many people."

* The increased police presence comes in response to the arrests of eight people during the protests on Thursday, who were sprayed with mace by officers when they tried to rush the Senate floor. Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamcyzk told the Free Press that "the majority of the protesters had a point to make, but were very polite, very civil."

* State Democrats vowed on Thursday to "avenge" the move to push through right-to-work legislation by state Republicans.

* Union leaders, including UAW President Bob King, echoed that sentiment, saying that supporters would "look at all the options -- recalls, ballot proposals, whatever it takes to re-establish the rights of workers in Michigan," as quoted by the Detroit News.

* MLive reported on Friday that union leaders have called on members and supporters to attend training sessions on Saturday to learn how to more effectively practice civil disobedience and peaceful protest before Tuesday's discussions commence.

* Every single Democratic senator and representative in the Michigan Legislature voted against the bills, as did six Republican representatives and four Republican senators.

Vanessa Evans is a musician and freelance writer based in Michigan, with a lifelong interest in politics and public issues.

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