Protesters Fight Right-To-Work Law

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

About 50 protesters gathered on the steps of the capitol protesting the right to work law that became effect at midnight Thursday morning.

"It is not a right to work, it is a right to work for less money," said Sue Love, a retired teamster.

"The fight has changed, back in December you saw the large amounts of people that were out here to try to change the mind of the politicians before they ended up passing it into law," said Jeff Breslin, the president of the Michigan Nurses Association.

Thursday there were fewer protesters and they were far more quiet, as they said, representing the how they feel their voices have been silenced. As the protesters gathered there were almost as many journalists as protesters.

"This is just a symbolic representation that when you are gone out of session, we are still in session. We are going to be here. This is a temporary law. It wasn't done democratically, we are going to change it back democratically," said Brett Brown, of UAW Local 602.

Similar protests were held at ten other locations across the state, including East Lansing, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Battle Creek to name a few.

Workers not attending the rallies were encouraged to wear red to show solidarity.

Republicans stand by the law, saying it will bring jobs to Michigan.

"We are seeing surrounding states who are now worried about whether they are still competitive with Michigan in terms of attracting jobs providers. That's a great thing," said Ari Adler, Press Secretary for Speaker of the House, Jase Bolger (R-Marshall).

Out Thursday, a Michigan State University study showed the state remains strongly divided on the topic. With an equal number both for and against right-to-work. 42.7 percent said they believe the new law will help the economy, while 41 percent said it will hurt. With a 3 percent margin of error, statistically it's a dead heat.

"What I sense is a deep divide that I don't think is going to go away over time. I could be wrong, but I think that so much of this is gets to sort of an ideological division." said Dr. Charles Ballard, the Director of the study.

Not surprisingly, union members are considerably less optimistic about right-to-work with nearly 74 percent saying it will hurt the economy. That's compared to 37 percent for non-union members.

The economist behind the study says the law might actually have little to no real effect in Michigan.

"If there are beneficial effects, of right-to-work they haven't been large enough to overcome other deficiencies the economies in Mississippi in Oklahoma and Alabama have -- those are right-to-work states," said Ballard.

Professor Ballard said many employers are concerned more with other things-- not whether their employees are union or not.

"Can you find the skilled workers to do the job that you need to do. It doesn't matter to a lot of employers whether they are unionized or non-union, what matters is does they have the skill," said Ballard.

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  • by Name Location: Location on Apr 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM
    @free: Why does getting the friday before, or the the monday after easter provide any more balance? I work Mon.-Fri. Easter is on a Sunday, a day I get off already. I don't need an extra day to make easter more special. Same goes for any holiday that falls on a weekend. I am thankful to have employers that do give extra paid time on weekend holidays. I have also had employers that didn't. That is why there is Vacation and personal time. Thank you though for illustrating a small part the extent of the entitlement mentallity that is destroying this country. Gone are the days for personal responsibility.
  • by Anti union Location: Michigan on Apr 3, 2013 at 08:18 PM
    Unions served a purpose a hundred years ago. They made the work place safer and worked to get unskilled workers a better wage. However, now they are the reason our state economy is falling apart. Their focus has been getting a large number of unskilled and uneducated workers a higher wage than they are worth. They now create contracts the companies can't keep. GM would bee gone now if my tax dollars didn't bail them out. The quality of the product has gone down hill. Where will it end?
  • by free Location: mason on Apr 3, 2013 at 04:07 AM
    @ Anonymous too, sounds like you have skills and work hard, to bad your employer takes advantage of that and doesn't reward you with a 3 day easter weekend. Survival requires balance in life, not just money and the promise of a job.
  • by Anonymous too on Apr 2, 2013 at 04:06 PM
    No one I know got a 3 day weekend, anonymous, but then everyone I know actually works for a living and has to prove they have the skills and ability to keep their job...
  • by anonymous Location: inhgam on Mar 30, 2013 at 02:24 AM
    Enjoying your three day weekend? Thank a union member. Happy Easter.
  • by free Location: Mason on Mar 29, 2013 at 08:19 AM
    Union members have a lot more to lose in the long term, than the short term gain of opting out of dues. Most will continue to pay. Some underestimate labor, especially when it becomes a movement again.
  • by Bill Location: Lansing on Mar 29, 2013 at 03:07 AM
    The union has dubbed the right to work law the right to work for less. How do they figure, for me opting out, it is a right to work for more as I will see a increase in my pay check of $60.00 a month. Tere was was a time for a union but know, I got my own back as I am tired of a union who still uses their thug tactics as shown at the Dec 11 rally. I am tired of seeing some scum bags keep their job because the union got him his job back after he was found to be stealing, late to work all the time, high on what ever or just so lazy the ret of us has to make up the difference. Now it is your turn to prove to me why you deserve to have me as a member. Good luck on that one.
  • by David Location: Charlotte on Mar 28, 2013 at 05:55 PM
    I have to ask agin what good did it really do to extend these contracts? No matter how long they have extended them is going to make no difference? 2 years 5 years 8 years sooner or later the fact remains you union members are going to be losing members when your contracts are up just kicking the can down the road nice job GO RTW.
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