Labor unions protest Mich. legislators

Jan. 9, 2013 at 3:46 PM
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LANSING, Mich., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Michigan labor unions say they set up a "walk of shame" to greet lawmakers back to the Capitol after passing right to work legislation in the lame duck session.

Unfortunately for the protesters, most of the lawmakers slipped in through side doors, the Detroit Free Press said Wednesday.

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for years said right to work legislation was not on his agenda, but then in a lame duck session of the GOP-controlled Legislature, the issue was quickly taken up and passed, blindsiding unions in the traditionally labor-friendly state, the newspaper said.

Right to work legislation makes it illegal for a worker to be forced to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment.

John Marler, 27, a steward in Unite Here Local 24 in Detroit, said Snyder wasn't being honest with voters.

"That was the rub for me, with Snyder," Marler said. "That says something about his leadership."

He and about 100 others carried placards reading "RTW is Wrong for Michigan" and "No unions, no peace" and chanted at the few lawmakers who walked the front steps to the Capitol building in Lansing.

Anti-union groups called the protesters "thugs" who want to deny workers the right to decide if they don't want to be in a union.

"Unfortunately, when it comes to the union thugs and anti-worker lawmakers bullying workers and opposing workplace freedom and equality for all Michigan families, shame seems to be in far too short a supply," said Greg McNeilly, president of the Michigan Freedom Fund supporting the right-to-work law.

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