Bill to Impose Hefty Fine for Illegal Pickets

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House Bill 4643 recently came up in the Michigan Legislature. It would impose fines on picketers if they prevented people from going to work, blocked public roadways or protested at a private residence, which are already against the law in Michigan. The sponsor of the bill says it's common sense.

"If they're tresspassing, it's illegal," said Rep. Tom McMillin, R-Rochester Hills.

If the bill is signed into law, businesses can ask a court to stop unlawful pickets, without showing proof of harm. Individuals responsible could be fined up to $1000 for each day of the violation and unions up to $10,000. Unions say the legislation has chilling effects and the hefty fines are far too punitive.

"If you were picketing in a lawful way, but people were confused and thought they would be subject to a $1000 a day fine, I think it sends the wrong message, it sends the message that average working people should not speak out and they do not have a voice," said Ray Holman from UAW Local 6000.

Rep. McMillin denies the accusation that the bill targets unions.

"Union bosses are worried about keeping their jobs, they got to make it look like everyone is against union workers, we're not. As long as your bosses aren't telling you to break the law, you'll be fine."

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