Hundreds Take Over Capitol In Right To Work Protest

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

As many as 400 union members and supporters protested the Right to Work Bill by exercising their right to free speech Wednesday night.

"You need to listen to the people. That's what this is about," Local UAW 652 President Mike Green said. "This isn't just about unions, this is about working people, whether you're union or not. This is about the people that make things happen in Michigan."

They made it happen at the Capitol, lining every level of the rotunda, chanting until their voices were hoarse, and giving dozens of state troopers a new post for the evening.

"The protesters were very noisy, but they were very polite, and they got their message across, but we just want to make sure they did it safely," Michigan State Police Inspector Gene Adamczyk said.

There were no arrests, and beneath the banging on bannisters, the message was clear.

"Right to work is wrong for Michigan," Green said. "It doesn't work in any other states it's in. Why would it work here?"

Senate democrats are not cooperating as long as the bill is on the agenda, and at this point, they just want an answer from Governor Snyder.

"Our governor continues to say, 'It's not on my agenda,' he doesn't say if he's going to sign this if it gets to his desk, and it's time for him to send a clear message where he stands and whose side he's on in this fight," Senator Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said. "This governor has a great opportunity to say, 'I stand with the people,' but he won't take it."

Democrats even requested other bills be read aloud as a stalling technique. They said they'll seek all forms of legal action available to stop right to work.

"We need to defeat it, and that's what we're going to work toward," Sen. Whitmer said. "We're in a small minority, but we're not going to roll over. We're going to work and use every tool at our fingertips to make sure that we slow the process down."

While the protesters aren't slowing down at all.

"No matter what happens here, we're going to be here," Green said. "Unions are going to be here. We're here to help people."

When the Senate adjourned, the Capitol cleared out pretty quickly.

Because the bill still wasn't introduced, many people expect Thursday will bring more of the same tactics and protesters.

State troopers said they'll continue to have an increased presence as long as there are protesters on the scene.


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