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Dearborn UAW Prepares to Rally Against Right-to-Work Tuesday in Lansing

Opponents of the bill are discussing ways to fight its passage, while a final vote is expected to come this week.

As Michigan’s right-to-work legislation heads back for a final vote on Tuesday, unions and legislative opponents of the law say that the battle is not over—even if there’s not much they can do to stop the bill from passing.

The bills, separate versions of which were passed last week in the house and senate, are sitting through a five-day waiting period before they can be reconciled.

Democratic Dearborn Sen. Morris Hood said that the expectation in Lansing is that the Senate-approved versions of the bills will go over to the house for approval on Tuesday.

“At this point, (senators) don’t have a large course of action in which we can do besides continue to lobby on behalf of our contingent and still have a process before it goes to the house,” he said Friday. “There is some time for things to be done, but we don’t know to what level it will be received.”

Hood urged residents to continue to fight to be part of the legislative process.

Dearborn UAW Local 600 members are taking that message to heart.

According to the Detroit Free Press, Local 600 hosted a training for hundreds of union members Saturday aimed at educating them about constructive ways to protest.

President Bernie Ricke said Friday that their chapter had more than 100 members protesting at the Capitol on Thursday, and are planning an even bigger outcry on Tuesday.

“It’s a very important issue to us, but we knew it has been on the back burner for some time,” he said, adding that union members mobilized quickly once they heard that right-to-work was being pushed through and would be signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.

Snyder announced his support for the legislation—which would essentially prohibit the requirement of a worker to pay union dues as a condition of employment—on Thursday. In a Pure Michigan ad published on YouTube, he says his decision to pursue such legislation is "about being pro-work and giving workers the freedom to choose who they associate with."

By 8 p.m. that evening, the house and the senate had approved separate right-to-work bills. Votes fell mostly along party lines, with heavy GOP support.

A protest raged on all day Thursday at the Capitol, where an estimated 2,500 union members and supporters from all across the state rallied against right-to-work.

“I think you’re going to see a lot more people on Tuesday than you did this week,” Ricke predicted.

He added that unions felt that the sudden push for the bills—which had been stalled since 2011—was a planned-out tactic, and that unions hope to see it challenged.

“I believe there will be some legal challenges because of the way they did it,” he said. “I’m sure (legislators) are looking at a lot of options, because it definitely wasn’t done democratically.

“We’ll move forward and do whatever we can to repeal it.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, a union activist out of Highland Park has already filed a lawsuit over right-to-work, stating that legislators violated the Open Meetings Act by barring protesters from the Capitol for a brief period on Thursday.

Sen. Hood could not confirm that the course of action by senate and house Democrats would be to put up a legal challenge if the bills are passed.

“I haven’t been in conversations … but that’s not to say that’s not a discussion,” he said, adding that a legal challenge would likely be something decided upon by Democratic minority leaders in the house and senate.

Hood’s focus right now—like union members—is to fight until Snyder’s signature is on the paper.

“It’s not over until its over,” Hood said. “The governor has not signed it into law, so I still am having hope … that there’s still some small chance that it could happen. So we’ll still keep shooting for that.”

UAW local chapters from around Dearborn and the downriver area will be sending a number of busses to Lansing on Tuesday for the rally. For more information, see the contact sheet attached to this article.

Charles L Walls December 10, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Harold, Man, is your head screwed on backwards , or what! First, jobs are not "chased away" by "slashing" benefits to the poor and handicapped. What do poor and handicapped benefits have to do with job creation. More likely jobs disappear because employers disappear, and employers disappear because the cost of running the business becomes higher than the revenue received by selling its products and services. Government benefits to the poor have nothing to do with it other than the cost of those benefits comes from tax money that comes form businesses. If you want MORE benefits for the poor and handicapped, then you DO want more taxes. So why are you upset about higher taxes on you card license, etc.? That's seems to be EXACTLY what you want. What we DON'T want is more taxpayer money going to people who don't produce. As one Texas lawmaker once said: "We don't have much welfare down here because we don't pay for it. You get what you pay for." If you want a lot of unemployed and unemployable people hanging around like flies, then by all means, have the taxpayers fund generous benefits for doing nothing. If, on the other hand, you want to put them to work to earn their own living, then cut the taxes and restrictions and restraints on the businesses that would employ them.
Lee Jacobsen December 10, 2012 at 03:46 PM
Harold, you are right, the cleaning should start from the top down, not by taking more from the poor. But it is too late to clean out Obama, and he is on the verge (cliff) of raising everyone's taxes, not just the rich, by not compromising, and using the excuse of taxing the rich to tax all of us. The death tax will rise, margin taxes will rise, gas taxes will rise, and he can do something about it, but won't. Odds are, he will be spending 4 million tax payer dollars vacationing in Hawaii for 3 weeks, Dec 17th thru Jan 6th, right at the time when he should be in Washington bringing our country back together. I hope he slices a lot of golf balls....... Snyder took us from nearly the worst state to do business in , to the 5th best, and has leveled the playing field. He reduced Granholm's billion dollar debt to a surplus. We are getting a bridge almost free, the Canadians are paying for it, not Michigan, and now, with the right to work bill, and our smart work force, companies will flock to Michigan to build parts, and forget Indiana. That means good paying jobs Harold, and that means you can afford higher taxes, and perhaps may even become one of the 'rich' folk that you seem to despise. Keep in mind that over half the folk don't even pay Federal taxes, and the so called rich are footing 77% of the tax bill. Now is that fair? Whether they can afford it or not is immaterial. Any of us can be rich if we want to, most would rather cheer on the Lions. Hmmm
Harold Leese December 11, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I'm opposed to giving more money to those who won't work and that is why I'm want to defeat the SMART Property tax. They are no longer supported by the Michigan Department of Transportation or area businesses as a whole. The tax is best capped because it is now nothing but a charity donation and is not supportive of good public mass transit. SMART costs too much and does not support the need to remove cars from overcrowded dangerous roads with oversized trucks I think our country will be in serious economic trouble if we don't all work together to help out our neighbors and everyone else and put God first. So, thanks very much for posting your thoughts on my comment. .
Keith Best December 11, 2012 at 12:45 PM
There is nothing wrong with having a choice, and that's what this legislation does. It's time for right-to-work.
Julia Childy January 22, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Here, Here, to Charles L. Walls for his brilliant comments - A breath of fresh air!

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