Area UAW Members Prepare to Rally Tuesday Against Right-to-Work Legislation in Lansing

Wyandotte residents are amongst many who oppose the bill that's on its way to becoming state law.

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.

Several Wyandotte residents said they intend to drive to Lansing for the protest.

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 Downriver will be sending a number of busses to Lansing on Tuesday for the rally. For more information, see the contact sheet attached to this story.

Follow Patch's live blog for updated information from Lansing on Tuesday.

Bloomfield1876 December 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Interesting, when the union wanted to lock in their rights in the state constitution no one protested, left work, got in the way of voters or legislators going to work.....it was decided at the polls. Now when things aren't going their way via RTW they squeal and cry and protest and accuse and demonize.....desert our children in schools to protest, leave their jobs......because they aren't eating their way...pathetic.
Keith Best December 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM
There is NOTHING wrong with having a choice, and that's what this legislation does. It's time for right-to-work.
Jim Rutkowski December 11, 2012 at 02:37 PM
By abandoning their students to protest with other union members just shows where their priorities are. There are many dedicated teachers who will protest on their own time yet show up to teach our students. Those are the professionals who are committed to our children.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something