Right-to-work protest heats up

Hundreds of demonstrators packed all four levels of the rotunda Tuesday, chanting "Union!" and" What's disgusting? Union-busting!" They stomped their feet and banged together hard hats.
AP Wire
Dec 11, 2012

The Republican-led Michigan House has approved a contentious right-to-work bill limiting unions' strength.

The measure approved Tuesday morning deals with public-sector workers. Another bill focusing on the private sector was approved last week, when the Senate OK'd both bills.

When final versions have cleared the House, they'll go to GOP Gov. Rick Snyder for his expected signature as early as Wednesday.

Passage followed numerous challenges and changes sought by Democrats as well as raucous protests inside and outside the Capitol from pro-union demonstrators. Thousands descended upon downtown Lansing to rally against the legislation that prohibits requiring nonunion employees to financially support unions at their workplace.

Backers say a right-to-work law would bring more jobs to Michigan and give workers freedom. Critics say it would drive down wages and benefits.

Earlier, protesters packed the state Capitol in Lansing, chanting and whooping as lawmakers prepared to take final votes on divisive right-to-work bills.

Hundreds of demonstrators packed all four levels of the rotunda Tuesday, chanting "Union!" and" What's disgusting? Union-busting!"

They stomped their feet and banged together hard hats.

The noise was deafening. At one point the crowd began loudly roaring, applauding themselves as the decibel levels grew.

A group of about 20 state troopers blocked the Senate chamber. Officers stared straight ahead, expressionless, as the crowd heckled them, demanding to be let in and shouting: "You're next."

The scene was calmer outside the House chamber, where another group of state police blocked the room. About a dozen protesters clustered around troopers, one mugging for a snapshot with an expressionless officer.

Comments

GH Cyclist

I'm glad Santa caught the spelling error on his sign ;)

Lanivan

Extensive research on states that are Right-To-Work going back to 1947 has some very interesting findings. 1.) RTW laws do not have any significant positive impact on employment or job growth whatsoever. Job growth in RTW states seems to come from other trends particular to the state. 2.) RTW states tend to experience a Catch-22 - by weakening unions and lowering wages and benefits, it lowers local and state revenues forcing cuts in public services like infrastructure and education. 3.) RTW strategies backfire when
trying to attract higher skill, higher wage/benefit industries that typically are not attracted by lower wage/benefits workers, but need employees who are highly educated and trained. Most RTW states are forced to make cuts in education because of reduced revenues and must then offer additional tax breaks and other enticements to attract the higher-wage employers. It appears that despite all the extensive research that shows RTW laws have little to no influence on job creation or employment, this divisive bill being rammed through by Michigan Republicans actually will reduce wages/benefits/pensions for union and non-union workers alike, but not actually reduce unemployment, increase job creation, or attract the much sought after higher skill/higher wage industries. One would think our elected officials would spend some time doing due diligence before making such a huge move during a lame duck session of Congress. So just why are they moving so quickly with legislation that just days ago Snyder said was not on his agenda? Whatever the reasons, it appears that job creation, lower unemployment, more tax revenue, better educated workers, and attracting higher wage/benefit/skill industry are not among them. All it took was a few minutes online to get reams of independent research that shows Right To Work is not at all what it's cracked up to be.

RenegadeX

Yes, only a few minutes. Looks like there are others who would disagree with you.

http://www.heritage.org/research...

Oh, and look at this group of " tea partiers" in Lansing today. Hey, wait a minute...

http://www.mlive.com/politics/in...

Lanivan

Heritage Foundation? This conservative propaganda factory is the perfect place to go for disagreement. You might remember the Heritage Foundation presented the world, in 1989, with the universal health care proposal that was used by then Gov Romney in MASS, and Obama with the ACA, but by then they disavowed it as "socialism". Due to an extreme lack of accountability, real people don't give the Heritage Foundation the time of day. As for your "tea partier/Lansing comment, I don't follow you. What does this have to do with RTW legislation that has no appreciable positive affect on job creation but does have a negative affect on union and non-union wages? Or that congressional Republicans rammed through a huge bill in less than a week during a lame duck session, added appropriation bills to it to ensure voters can't vote on it, all amidst massive public outcry, and rushing it to be signed by Snyder who has said all along RTW wasn't on his agenda? Looks like bait and switch to me - yell "worker choice" but don't let voters have a choice or a decision. Every middle class worker and voter in this state should sit up straight and take notice - this is NOT democracy at it's finest. And the whole nation is watching.

Vladtheimp

Lanivan – One reason I enjoy reading your posts and sparring with you is that you generally cite a specific source for what you have written, especially if it is a conservative or main stream source, and then flog everyone who disagrees with you with your objective citation (even when you cherry pick quotes from those sources and distort the actual meaning of the specific article.

Here, however, you appear to have pulled these alleged factoids about Right To Work laws from thin air or somewhere else. Would you share the sources for these union/democrat talking points so we can review them for ourselves? Thanks!

Lanivan

Vlad - I've learned the art of flogging from the best floggers to be found on these illustrious pages, of which you are a proud member. When there is so much available information, I don't wish to get bogged down in naming source after source - especially when I know certain "floggers" love the "bait and switch debate technique" of rebutting with lots of denigrating comments about the lack of sources instead of addressing the issue at hand. Try the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute website for starters (NOT Renegade's Heritage Foundation - I'm still lol over that one. Actually, I've started wondering if you might be an HF ghostwriter), then move on to the myriad other reports that show basically the same thing. Please don't write back claiming the EPI is just another democrat/liberal source of democrat talking points that is worthless or worse, as you are prone to do. I do take issue with your personal comments - I have no problem with disagreement, but do have a problem with motives behind the disagreement.

Vladtheimp

Here's a link that explains Michigan's NEW RIGHT TO WORK LAW with facts, and its not the illustrious Heritage Foundation, which you so recently described as a " conservative propaganda factory" (much worse than my personal comment about union/democrat talking points, No?) http://www.mackinac.org/16278

And for your edification, here's a link that shows how the MEA was shafting folks who didn't join their union http://www.michigancapitolconfid...

I'll try not to offend your sensitivities in the future, but when one is so overly sensitive that disagreement becomes something much worse, it's difficult.

Lanivan

So what do you do? Offend my sensibilities again by offering the Mackinaw Center for Public Policy link as an "explanation" of the law. As you well know, this "Public Policy" think tank is part of the Heritage Foundation/ALEC/State Policy Network petri dish of insidious schemes and creative legislation to further the causes of the Koch brothers and the Waltons, among others, who are it's primary benefactors. I'm not interested in what the MEA or any union for that matter does to shaft it's members. I am interested in this chipping away of the middle class by filthy rich members of society in the interests of becoming even more filthy rich at the expense of the country. What a web they weave while pulling out all stops to deceive....

Vladtheimp

Res Ipsa Loquitor.

Lanivan

I supppose you learned this at Georgetown....btw, I don't see how it applies here (or are you just being ironic?).

Vladtheimp

It means, "The Thing Speaks for Itself" speaking of sensitivities. And yes, the meaning hasn't changed since I passed the Bar in 1974.

Lanivan

Heck - it hasn't changed since Cicero used it. I took Latin in Junior High back in the day when it was still offered (and it wasn't called Middle School). Now that's something lacking in our current education system to be up in arms about!

Vladtheimp

You say: " Please don't write back claiming the EPI is just another democrat/liberal source of democrat talking points that is worthless or worse, as you are prone to do. I do take issue with your personal comments"

And you comment: ". As you well know, this "Public Policy" think tank is part of the Heritage Foundation/ALEC/State Policy Network petri dish of insidious schemes and creative legislation to further the causes of the Koch brothers and the Waltons, among others, who are it's primary benefactors.

1. I guess you don't understand hypocrisy or irony; 2. I guess I have no right to be offended. 3. Offend me all you want - that's American freedom, liberty, and the First Amendment. I cherish them!

Lanivan

You can bet I understand hypocrisy and irony, and your choice of the Mackinaw Public Policy Center, which is under the umbrella of the Heritage Foundation along with ALEC and others, takes the cake, and you know it. Am I to think you were just trying to be ironic? I'll have to take your word for it that you cherish American freedom, liberty and the First Amendment. Let's just say we hold different interpretations. My take is that this latest RTW Republican scheme has far less to do with "individual" liberty and lots to do with corporate "liberty". But I have to think that the Repubs playing their hand like this might actually be a good thing in the end...just like all the Obama lies pre-election. It's unfortunate but true that it takes drastic measures to get people to sit up and take notice. Hope springs eternal.

Vladtheimp

In another comment, you stated: And now back to RTW - I assume you give the Republican congress a big thumbs up for ramming this legislature through in less than a week during a lame duck session, amid massive public outcry, deliberately attaching appropriations onto it so voters have no choice or vote, and being signed by a governor who has repeatedly said it was not on his agenda? I suppose you will try to convince yourself this is what Democracy is all about. THIS MIGHT BACKFIRE AS THE NATION WATCHES. (EMPHASIS MINE)

Well today the nation watched union teachers walking out on their students with no notice to parents who rely on the fact their children will be safe in school. Today the nation watched union thugs destroying personal property and physically (and cowardly) attacking opponents.

If you are concerned about "flogging" you should look into the movement you so ardently support. Any thoughts on the violence and thuggery, Lanivan?

Lanivan

It's unfortunate that children have to be the innocent bystanders - just like the kids who had to see the hanging chairs hung in effigy of our black president across from a grade school. Union thugs destroying personal property? Some protesters kicked the spikes holding up a tent put up by RTW supporters. Whoopteedoo! What were the supporters thinking, putting up a tent in the middle of the opposition? Violence? Thuggery? That was taking place in the congressional chambers by the Repub thugs pulling a fast one on Michigan citizens. I think you getting me confused with another commenter Vlad - nowhere have I ardently supported unions. The RTW issue and the way it was fast tracked through congress transcends unions and affects all of us. In 1979, 37% of Michigan's workers were unionized - in 2012, 18% of workers are unionized. So if there has been a reduction of union workers by 19%, why the big rush to weaken the unions even further? Perhaps because it has nothing much to do with unions, and everything to do with weakening the middle class.

Vladtheimp

It's becoming sad to see how far you have to reach - leaving thousands of kids unattended to keep union benefits equates to some kids who might have seen symbolic speech. Demolishing a tent that was lawfully set up as part of free speech, and punching out folks who were exercising the same right is a big Whoop - your fascist tendencies are coming to the fore - why not just declare what you believe?

Lanivan

This was about far more than keeping union benefits, although I'm sure there were some for whom that was the main motivator. I was watching the "demolishing" of the tent live, and I fail to see how the tent was "demolished". It was reported on Wood TV 8 as just having fallen down. It probably took 2-3 guys out of 12,500 participants to kick a few spikes (this again was how it was reported). Are you calling me a fascist or just my tendencies? And I think I've declared my beliefs as clearly and concisely as possible....and with conviction.

Vladtheimp

You are becoming unhinged. This has nothing to do with keeping union benefits - anyone can still vote to join a union - it just allows people who don't want to join not to. The union thuggery was clearly shown on national tv - and how does "just having fallen down" equate to " kicking a few spikes"? No cause and effect? Whether your tendencies are fascist or not is pretty clearly demonstrated by your defense of what went on today in the Capitol. Sorry - you could have avoided this characterization by simply stating that the thuggery was wrong and undemocratic.

Lanivan

I did - the thuggery that took place in the congressional chambers was wrong and undemocratic, done in haste deliberately because they knew it would never fly otherwise. The intense response from a crowd that size was not unexpected or surprising. Newscasters continually alluded to the "mostly peaceful crowd", and I am quoting verbatim what Wood TV 8 reporters on the scene were using to describe how the tent fell. Your insistence on turning the spotlight from the chicanery taking place inside the capital to the actions of a few outside in a huge crowd is strange, and your insistence that I'm becoming "unhinged", having "fascist tendencies", and other nonsense is weird. Let's delete the personal attack debate techniques, ok? If RTW is so positive,unassuming, and milquetoast - as you suggest - why the desperate fast track and backpedaling by congress and Snyder today?

Vladtheimp

Had this violence occurred at a Tea Party event, you undoubtedly would have characterized it as the equivalent of the Rape of Nanking.

On a positive note, I see we share a background in Latin. At P.S. 13 in Nueva Yorka, I took Latin from the 7th grade through the 12th grade. Of course, that was when teaching was considered a calling and a profession rather than another trade to be organized, and teachers could not conceive of abandoning their students and parents to protest for better wages and benefits than most of the parents have.

Lanivan

Oooohhh...I hope my teacher friends who are passionate about their profession and their devotion to students don't read your post. I love your Frank Luntz-inspired choice of red meat words like, "abandoning", "violence", "Rape of Nanking". Overkill?

I did enjoy Latin. It was so interesting to see where so much of our common vocabulary comes from. I do lament the lack of classical studies in our schools. As a former educator (as you have mentioned previously), what do you think of the conservative strategy of keeping the populace low-information and making education a bad word?

Vladtheimp

Lanivan, you are becoming more entertaining as you tie yourself into a pretzel like shape. 1. The teachers did “abandon” their students and parents en masse, with virtually no notice. 2. What I saw on television was violence by union thugs. 3. Rape of Nanking – Overkill, but probably accurate given your poetic description of The Heritage Foundation.

The Conservative strategy of keeping the populace low information is apparently working in spades since Obama was elected in spite of his dismal performance and his many lies. I'm still trying to figure out how they accomplished it – was it their dominance of the main stream media – NBC, MSNBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, or was it perhaps their dominance of the educational institutions in the country – the teacher's unions, college and university professors? It must have been because the only way I am aware to keep a nation dumbed down is through the media and the educational institutions. The strategy really worked in the Detroit Public Schools, dominated as they are by Tea Partiers and Heritage type folks.

Lanivan

Obama won because he was the better man. The Romney/Ryan campaign was built on lies, billionaire money, sharp flip-flops to the far right and then back again, and denial from Fox News and operatives like Karl Rove, who in their hubris thought they had the people all walking in lock step. Enough people started to pick up on the fraud, and bingo!...And they began to realize things were going pretty well with Obama, especially with what he inherited, so why change course in mid-stream. Of course, I realize there is no way on earth you would share this assessment.

Other than the Heritage Foundation, ALEC, the Mackinaw Kite Co (I mean PPC), and the Brothers Koch, is there any segment of society you don't have a problem with?

Vladtheimp

This is what thuggery looks like:
Michigan Union Goons Destroy Hotdog Vendor’s Cart While Hurling Racist Epithats at Him (Video)http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/...

Vladtheimp

This is what a tent just having fallen down looks like: http://www.wilx.com/news/headlin...

Lanivan

This is want real information looks like....and btw, I can't stand Michele Malkin (less than Ann Coulter and that's a lot)......http://mediamatters.org/research...

Vladtheimp

This may come as a huge surprise, but no one really cares if you don't like intelligent, conservative women - no surprise considering the progressive war on such women.

There may be a reason for the progressive antagonism: http://moonbattery.com/archives/...

Mediamatters - MEH!

Have a nice evening.

Lanivan

I knew there would be retribution for my "old white men" comments. I like lots of intelligent, conservative women....Betty Ford, Laura Bush, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Jean Milliken, Meaghan McCain come to mind. It's just that there are so few of them out there these days. Don't worry - no offense taken!

Wingmaster

Oh Laninvain, Why are you against letting workers have a choice to join the union or not? Then when someone links to supporting resources you discount it like the liberal you really are. So much for being a "moderate" you claim to be. Oh, your outrage over Michigan Republicans "ramming thru a huge bill" comment has me laughing myself to tears. Perhaps you forgot that little tiny deal your Obama pushed thru called Obama care. Never heard you cry and complain about this little "pass it to see what's in it" legislation. Your just to funny, but interesting enough to continue to debate and watch as others shred your failed and continuing failing philosophy out there.

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