Protest at Michigan Capitol Over Anti-Union Drive - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Protest at Michigan Capitol Over Anti-Union Drive


LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Union members are demonstrating loudly at the Capitol in Lansing, where state legislators may be preparing to consider so-called "right-to-work" legislation.

Hundreds of labor supporters have packed the rotunda area Wednesday, blowing whistles and chanting slogans such as "Union busters" and "We are Michigan." State police and Capitol security officers are on hand. The protest hasn't disrupted House and Senate work sessions in their respective chambers.

Rumors have swirled that majority Republicans might try to push through legislation in the session's closing days that would bar unions from collecting dues from non-members. Opponents say it's an effort to drain unions of money and weaken their effectiveness. Supporters say right-to-work policy boosts the economy and jobs.

A spokeswoman for Senate Republicans says there will be no right-to-work vote Wednesday.What started out as a democratic news conference turned into a labor rally aimed at killing Right to Work. The show of force from the state police was a little stronger Wednesday as troopers monitored the gathering outside the Senate chambers.

But trying to figure out what was going was a challenge, trying to separate rumors from reality left the house democratic leader predicting that republican would eventually introduce the right to work legislation.

"Everything points that way, based on media reports and speculation, but I couldn't tell you the schedule," said Representative Rick Hammel.

Labor demonstrators continued their effort to convince republicans to vote no. While UAW Official Art Luna accused the other side of trying to under cut the political power of unions.

"Absoultey and if they do that they don't have to worry about someone running against them in the future years," said Luna.

The governor's office contends no decision has been reached to move on the bill, but democrats continued to play defense, threateing to do whatever it takes to stop this.

But Right to Work supporter Terry Bowman contends this is about saving jobs from going to Indiana which has such a law.

"We already know that one out of five private sector jobs was created in Indiana last year and if we don't pass Right to Work, we will have to build a fence on our souther border to keep jobs from migrating south," said Bowman.

Behind the scenes, the Senate GOP leader is reportedly drafting a right to work bill.

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